Manchester United: Mourinho furious with squad; Englishman singled out; Pogba makes promise
Never one to shy away from controversial comments, Jose Mourinho didn’t hold back after an embarrassing defeat at Watford made it three consecutive defeats in the space of eight days after a summer of heavy investment sees them lay in seventh place with five games played. After defeat at Watford, Mourinho questioned whether his young squad could handle the pressure, saying:
I was completely aware that we were not the perfect team, that we had lots of players who are not end products and can make their own mistakes. My only doubt was the way they can cope with the negative moments that come sooner or later. I feel that some individuals probably feel too much pressure and that responsibility.
The Portuguese gaffer usually prefers not to directly criticise his players, but exceptional treatment is required after what can only be described as an appalling week for the Old Trafford outfit as an early bid for the title is already faltering and the club got off to the worst possible start in the Europa League.
One player who came in for the harshest criticism was left back Luke Shaw, now fully recovered from a severe leg break which saw him miss most of last season. Mourinho did not hold back in slamming the former Southampton ace, saying:
For the second goal, their player receives the ball and our left-back is 25 metres from him instead of five. But even at 25 metres you have to jump and press, but no, we wait. This is not a tactical but a mental attitude. An individual mistake. A mistake that went against our plan and our training. The guy gets the ball and we give him the space to progress.
The left-back was clearly at fault in the build up to the second Watford goal, but to criticise a player individually in this way, particularly when it is one so important to Mourinho, is an unprecedented step. Shaw has improved with every game this season to date and whilst there remains room for improvement, he is vastly better than the alternatives, most likely Marcos Rojo, who was poor at Feyenoord in midweek.
Another man to come in for criticism after the defeat was £89 million signing Paul Pogba, who again struggled to influence the game other than one speculative effort which hit the crossbar from distance. However, he tweeted to vow to come back stronger than ever as his side continue to fight to find the form and momentum which has deserted them in the past week or so:
— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) September 18, 2016
The Frenchman is yet to record his first United goal or assist since his move from Juventus saw him return to the club where he first broke into the first team. Many have blamed Mourinho for Pogba’s poor displays, saying that the system and set-up does not give Pogba the freedom to make the most of his creativity, with many criticising the choice of Marouane Fellaini as his midfield partner.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Serg Hoholok.
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