Time to Man up – it’s time ‘for men, not kids’

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS - BY MARK OG­DEN

JOSE MOUR­INHO HAS thrown down the gaunt­let to his Manch­ester United play­ers and warned that this is the time ‘for men, not kids’ fol­low­ing Sun­day’s 4-0 hu­mil­i­a­tion at Chelsea. Mour­inho suf­fered the heav­i­est de­feat his ca­reer as a man­ager in Eng­land with his for­mer club in­flict­ing a hum­bling de­feat on United at Stam­ford Bridge. United have now won just once in the Premier League since Au­gust and have dropped to sev­enth po­si­tion in the ta­ble, five points adrift of the top four. And with United due to face league lead­ers Manch­ester City in the EFL Cup at Old Traf­ford to­mor­row morn­ing, Mour­inho has made it clear that he ex­pects a de­ter­mined re­ac­tion from his play­ers against Pep Guardi­ola’s team.

“We are re­ally, re­ally sad, but this is not for kids,” Mour­inho said. “This is for men and we have to be men and work for the next one.

“I would pre­fer to play in the Premier League (than in the EFL Cup) be­cause it’s a bad feel­ing in the Premier League.

“With the com­bi­na­tion of re­sults, the gap to the top is six points. We’ve had a very dif­fi­cult pe­riod of matches.

“We lost points this week and even in the match when we played phe­nom­e­nal against Stoke, we lost points then.

“Now we need to win matches. I’m not say­ing they are easy ones, but we have Burn­ley, we have Swansea, West Ham, Sun­der­land, Mid­dles­brough – matches that we need to win and the top four, the top five, they have to play be­tween them­selves like we did this week against Chelsea and Liver­pool.

“They are go­ing to lose points too, so we are in the run but there is no way to hide be­cause I think our faces speak by them- selves.”

Mour­inho will face City without de­fender Eric Bailly, who faces at least a month on the side­lines with a knee lig­a­ment in­jury.

Cap­tain Wayne Rooney is bat­tling to over­come a calf in­jury in time to re­turn to the squad af­ter miss­ing the trip to Chelsea, with Luke Shaw ex­pected to re­claim his place at left­back due to Da­ley Blind (car­i­ca­ture) be­ing moved across to cen­tre­half fol­low­ing Bailly’s in­jury.

De­spite the set­back at Chelsea and the mount­ing in­jury prob­lems, how­ever, Mour­inho in­sists he is fully com­mit­ted to haul­ing United out of the slump.

“The only thing I can say is that I am Manch­ester United 100%,” Mour­inho said. “Not 99%, and 1% for Chelsea or any other club. I am 100% for Manch­ester United.

“Be­cause of that, I feel deeply the sit­u­a­tion, but there is only one an­swer, like I was telling the play­ers, there is only one an­swer. Train­ing to­mor­row and keep fight­ing.” – The In­de­pen­dent

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