Jose Mourinho has publicly criticised Manchester United’s defending in the light of what has been a dreadful week of results for the football club. This has led to the Portugal-born manager singling out several players, including Luke Shaw who is in the process of getting over the horrific injury he suffered last season.
The United boss has admitted that he starting to see a worrying habit that the side had picked up when defending their goal. Mourinho is becoming increasingly unhappy with the club’s pressing game, revealing that the speed his players are reacting with when out of possession is nowhere near quick enough.
“The first Man City goal and this second goal against Watford – you can find an incredible similarity, which is (Aleksandar) Kolarov has the ball in a difficult situation in the corner and my players, instead of going up to press they decide to give space.”
The former Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid boss went on to blame Shaw for Watford’s second of their three goals scored at Vicarage Road yesterday. The Hornet’s manager brought on Juan Zuniga in the 82nd minute and he went on to score with his first touch of the game a minute later.
“And here for the second goal, (Nordin) Amrabat receives the ball and our left-back is 25 metres from him instead of five metres. But even at 25 metres, you have to jump and go and press, but no, we wait. This is a tactical but also a mental attitude. It’s something that doesn’t become perfect in a couple of weeks.”
Shaw was taken off two minutes after the ball hit the back of the net, however, considering Memphis Depay was his replacement, it would seem it was more of a tactical move and not down to the fact Mourinho felt he made a mistake. Reports have emerged since the final whistle went claiming that the 21-year-old left-back picked up a groin injury during United’s troubles on Sunday, although the extent of it has not yet been revealed, so that could be the reasoning as to why he did not press the Watford attacker as intensely. It would be a huge blow if the former Southampton man has picked up an injury that will sideline him for a few weeks, simply because game time is what he needs – to return from a broken leg is not only a challenge of your fitness, but also a test of your mentality, who knows what another injury so soon could do to his confidence or mental state of mind.
The England international is a player with unreal potential, he could nail down that left back spot at Old Trafford for the next 10 years or more, however, it is evident at the time that he is suffering mentally from his leg break when on the pitch. On several occasions since the season began he has not been as committed to challenges as he once was, but admittedly, that is expected considering how long he spent out of the game because of an injury. When you add that with the fact it is extremely early into his return, then you can have got to be generous and give him more time to find his feet and get rid of the fear.
Some of the Manchester United squad members are also reportedly surprised at Shaw’s treatment by the Portuguese man in charge, considering he is on his process of return, however, it could simply be a bit of tough loving from the manager – it may even give the Englishman that extra kick of courage to impress his boss and earn praise. After all, nobody at all should be immune from criticism.