07 Nov Mourinho questions players’ mentality
Jose Mourinho took another swipe at his Manchester United players and questioned whether some of them were prepared to put their bodies on the line for the club.
United claimed a comfortable 3-1 victory at struggling Swansea to secure a first win in five Premier League games and move back into the top six, as the Portuguese served a one-match touchline ban.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice to end his Red Devils’ goal drought but Mourinho suggested some of his players were more willing to play through pain than others, appearing to single out England defenders Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw.
Mourinho told Sky Sports: ” I want to say (some of the players) were influenced by some culture issues, influenced by a situation that has been going on for a few years.
“There is a difference between the brave, who want to be there at any cost, and the ones for whom a little pain can make a difference.
“Of course, it is not just the players, it is the people that surround the players.”
Before the game, Mourinho had told MUTV: “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.”
Mourinho continued on the same theme at his post-match press conference, adding: “We have players with problems, players on the pitch with problems.
“Every sport – and I know that because I have friends from other sports who play at the highest level – you play when you are not 100 per cent.
“I have a friend who is a big tennis player and he remembers more the times he plays in pain than without any pain.
“That’s what I mean, to compete you have to go to the limit. It is a cultural thing for some. But that’s not my culture. And more than me, Man United’s (culture).”
Smalling has a foot injury while Shaw is understood to have been feeling discomfort in the same leg he broke at the start of last season.
United were 3-0 up inside 33 minutes as Ibrahimovic’s brace added to Paul Pogba’s brilliant strike.
Ibrahimovic had not scored in the league since September 10, but his 609-minute goal drought ended when he drove home low from 20 yards and then added another after being fed for the second time by Rooney.
Mourinho said: “I used to say that a striker that does not score goals and does nothing else is one player less.
“A striker that doesn’t score goals but does everything else is a very important player for the team.
“He was not scoring goals but he was doing everything else.”
Swansea remain one place off the foot of the table and have yet to win under new manager Bob Bradley.
The former United States boss has lost three and drawn one of his four games in charge.
And the mood inside the Liberty Stadium threatened to turn ugly as supporters vented their anger at board members who sold the club to new American owners in the summer.
“If the fans are angry, I understand that,” Bradley said after Mike van der Hoorn’s 69th-minute header had provided scant consolation.
“We didn’t do enough to win them over. They had every right to be angry.
“It’s a tough spot, there is no two ways about that. We understand very clearly where we are and there is no hiding from that.
“But we have to keep everyone going and hopefully get some results.”