Jose Mourinho is “humiliating” his players by questioning their attitude and willingness to play for the team in public. That is according to outspoken BBC and BT Sport pundit, Chris Sutton.
Sutton makes the point that Mourinho is “running the risk of turning the dressing room against him” if he proceeds to question their commitment at press conferences and in interviews. It is certainly fair to see where the ex-Blackburn, Chelsea and Celtic striker is coming from.
With players sidelined through injury, frustrated not to be training and playing with their teammates day in, day out, the last thing they want to hear is their manager criticising them for not pushing hard enough to get back.
The Old Trafford boss has publicly criticised the attitudes and desire of Luke Shaw, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to return from injury in recent weeks.
Sutton has blasted the three-time Premier League winning manager’s treatment of his players as “deeply unfair,” but also believes that Mourinho has ulterior motives behind his tactics.
“To call them out for not playing through the pain barrier is deeply unfair.
“Managers I have played under would say things in the dressing room but back you in public. Mourinho just shoots from the hip. I think further down the line that leads to trouble,” Sutton continued.
“Having said that, in my opinion, what he is saying to the Manchester United board is, ‘I don’t want these players at the club. I need to replace them’. He is not daft – he knows what he is saying.”
Smalling is currently suffering with a knee injury while Jones is in the process of overcoming a toe problem. Neither have played for United since March but are both available for tonight’s Europa League semi-final first leg against Celta Vigo. Since Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Swansea, tonight’s game has grown significantly in importance, with winning the Europa League now the likeliest route to next season’s Champions League for the Red Devils.
21-year-old, Shaw picked up an ankle ligament injury which will force him to sit out the rest of the season in Sunday’s draw at Old Trafford. Just last month, his manager had this to say about him:
“I cannot compare the way he trains and commits, the focus, the ambition. He is a long way behind.”
After dropping two points in the race for a top-four finish in the league on Sunday, the Portuguese was critical of another pair of his defenders:
“I prefer not to speak about Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.
“I prefer to speak about Juan Mata giving everything to be available. I am grateful for that.”
Hat-Tip: BBC Sport