Manchester United fans awoke this morning to once again find their clubs name dominating the headlines due to comments made by the Old Trafford outfits controversial coach Jose Mourinho.
In an interview with Barcelona legend Hristo Stoichcov for Spainish outlet Univision Mourinho allegedly stated that four of Manchester United’s young players — Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard — lacked character.
Now, while you would be hard pushed to find anybody over 30 who doesn’t like to have the occasional moan about the younger generation being a ‘bit soft,’ Mourinho decision to publicly criticise his players in this fashion has been rightly questioned.
However, when you dig a little deeper into Mourinho’s controversial interview things don’t really stack up. Firstly, the interview was conducted on the 31st of October, but is only being picked up by major media outlets today. Secondly, the validity of the translation from Spanish to English has also been called in to question.
Luckily enough the Manchester Evening News took the time to have the interview properly translated and Mourinho’s comments actually seem a lot different from how he was originally quoted, but we’ll let you make your own mind up.
Stoichcov asked Mourinho: “In your team there are lots of diamonds. What are they missing?”
Mourinho replied: “They are lacking maturity. Maturity that when you [Stoichcov] played, I think the youngsters… look at your situation, at my situation.
“I wasn’t a player, obviously, but when I say maturity I mean on a personal level. We were more like men. We were more mature. We were more prepared for life. Let’s say it like that. We were less protected.
“In English they call it ‘spoilt’, ‘spoilt kids’. Our kids are more spoilt than we were by our parents. We are more mature, we are better prepared. For young people now, it’s a different life on a social level compared to ours.
“Today’s players also in their surroundings, they have a word that was used a lot in Barcelona, entorno [environment] that they use in a more global, holistic sense in relation to the club. When I use the word I use it more in relation to a personal environment. To the people who surround the players, who protect them too much, who give them – in my opinion – too much care, too many excuses. There’s always an excuse for everything.
“People are maturing more slowly. For example, the young lad Luke Shaw, who is the left-back of the national team, who arrived there [at United] two years before me. He didn’t know how to compete. He had great potential, yes, but he didn’t know how to compete.
“When we talk about Luke Shaw, [Anthony] Martial, [Jesse] Lingard, Marcus Rashford, we’re talking about young lads but who also are still missing a word that I can’t use but you like to use. They are missing a bit of that.
“Character, personality, as they say in Spain as well, bad blood, that natural aggression that you had.”
Could this actually be a case of major media outlets not bothering to check the credibility of the interviews translation and instead using it to suit their own narrative and drive clicks to their website? No, of course not, that kind of stuff never happens.