It’s fair to say that Jose Mourinho has experienced something of a problematic beginning to his Manchester United career. Results have hardly captured the imagination, and off field has barely been shrouded I’m glory with his recent touchline ban. But what has really caught the attention of both fans and media is the willingness of Mourinho to criticise his players in public. It’s never really been the done thing at Old Trafford, and when Louis van Gaal also dared to shame players in the media there was an uproar. The effects of this have reverberated, and former United ace Andrei Kanchelskis has had his say on the matter and the standpoint of his former boss in an exclusive interview with 888sport, saying:
“What Mourinho did, it shouldn’t happen. Ferguson was only critical in the dressing room and now too many coaches are critical of their players in public. No, no, no. Ferguson didn’t do that and it should not be done.”
There is a strong opinion in football that players should never be shamed out in the open. It’s a mantra that baffles me to be totally honest. Being a professional footballer is a job (even though we all seem to forget this) and can – albeit loosely – be compared to employment in our lives. If you or I were to do a bad job then we are told about this, and the knowledge soon becomes public. It isn’t a nice feeling when it happens, but you man up and deal with it. Footballers are seemingly unable to do such a thing.
Managers get the blame when results and performances are poor, and yes they do deserve plenty of it, but for too long now the Manchester United players have coasted by without having so much as a poor word said about the complete dross we fans have been left exposed to since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. Mourinho seems to be the one who has snapped and won’t take it anymore. Rather than fans focusing on how terrible it is that he is willing to call out players, maybe they should join in the criticism and call for much better from the side.
This is not to say he is always correct and just in his criticisms. The words on Henrik Mkhitaryan post-Fenerbahce were wide of the mark and an easy get-out following a drab evening in Turkey. But can we honestly say Mourinho isn’t right to say Luke Shaw has been well below par this term? I feel that if he were to come out and criticise Wayne Rooney then opinions would be very different.
My final word on the matter is this; more reflection on the time Sir Alex Ferguson spent at Old Trafford is further hindering the clubs ability to move past his sensational time in charge. “Sir Alex wouldn’t have done this”, “Sir Alex would have done that”, “this wouldn’t happen if Sir Alex was in charge” are the most common phrases banded about by supporters and ex players. Unfortunately everybody, Sir Alex is not there anymore and Mourinho is. Whether you agree with public shaming or not, it is his style and if you don’t like it then you and the players on the end of the tongue lashings need to shape up or ship out.