Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho followed up his sensational pre match press conference on Friday with yet another rant, despite his side beating Brighton 2-0 to progress to the FA Cup semi-finals.
United laboured to victory thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic, despite their managers words ringing in their ears from just 24 hours previous.
With a manager like Mourinho demanding all of his players to be behind him in order to win the FA Cup, as well as secure their place in next season’s Champions League, he was asked if the public criticism carried a risk:
“Yes. My calculation is that without pressure, they don’t perform well. What can I lose?” said Mourinho.
“And the ones that are always there are the ones that will always be there. And that is an example of personality.”
Mourinho pointed to the 21-year-old Scott McTominay, who had a disappointing performance on the night: “You have the kid that didn’t play well at all. I told him already, he was the first one I spoke to individually in the dressing room. And instead of being critical with him, I was positive with him saying: ‘You played very bad but you did the basic things that one player has to do.’”
Mourinho also suggested some of his players are too scared of the United shirt. “The basic thing is to keep the emotional balance to play with that red shirt, which is a heavy shirt to wear.
“But to feel not comfortable to play, saying: ‘Please Mister, take me from the pitch,’ I felt that.
“So I have nothing to lose in relation to that. The strong ones will be always the strong ones. The young ones, under pressure and under criticism, will improve or will not improve.
“Matic was an island of personality and quality. But a few of the other guys, I saw them scared to play. Look, I cannot say much more. I think it is in relation with personality, in relation to trust, in relation to class.
“And you know when the sun is shining, and in football the sun is shining when everything goes well, you win matches, you score goals, everything goes in your direction, every player is a good player and every player wants to play and every player wants the ball and every player is confident to play and every player looks amazing.
“When it is dark and cold and that in football means a period of bad results or a bad result like what happened to us a couple of days ago, not everybody has the confidence and the personality to play really. Because to be on the pitch and touch the ball every five minutes, anyone can do it but to be on the pitch and say: ‘Give me the ball because I want to play,’ that is a little bit more difficult. Not all of them were able to do it.”