Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho has publicly criticized his defenders Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw after they pulled out on the match against Swansea on Sunday because they didn’t feel 100% fit to play the game.
According to Mourinho, he had to make do with a second choice defensive line up (Phil Jones and Mattheo Darmian as center back and left back respectively).
He stated that the two players have betrayed Man United’s culture by not playing through the pain for the club, insinuating that his players should be prepared to play through the pain for the sake of their shirt.
“I have a friend who is a big tennis player and he tells me when he remembered more the times he plays with pain than the times he plays without pain,” Mourinho said to MUTV. To compete you have to go to the limit. It is cultural for some – and that is not my culture. More than me, it is Man United.
“We have players with problems. At every sport – and I know because I have friends in others sports and they play at the highest level in their sport.
“Valencia had surgery on his arm, Bailly has a long-term knee injury, Smalling doesn’t feel that he can play 100 per cent with his pain. Luke Shaw told me this morning that he was not in the condition to play so we had to build a defensive line.
“To be honest, I trust the four boys that are on the pitch. I go with the players that are convinced they can do it and I am very confident. I know Ashley Young is not a right-back but Ashley Young is a champion. Matteo Darmian is always ready to do his best and Phil Jones, he understands the moment of the team. He understands that we are in trouble so he is ready to go and accelerated his process.
“Maybe his process would take him more time but he’s put himself on the line to go with the team. Marcos [Rojo] is the same. Daley Blind has some problems but he put himself available to be on the bench and to try to help the team so the people that are here are people that I trust for a difficult match.”
Asked if Smalling and Shaw had to change their mindset, Mourinho said:
“Exactly. More for Manchester United than for me.”
“After the draw with Burnley we need points. It was a great performance, but it was one point and we need the three points. It was more important to get three points than the performance, but we have both. I would love to play Carrick in every game, but it is not possible. For the same reason I cannot go to the gym every day anymore. He played very well.
“Ibra is not a player who lacks confidence. A striker who does not score goals is one player less, but a striker who does everything else is one who does well. He works hard defensively, in the build up, he gave assists. I was not worried.”