Combative Mourinho questions lame Devils
JOSE MOURINHO has taken a swipe at the Manchester United players he fears might not have the right attitude to guide his side back into the Premier League title race.
A touchline ban meant that Mourinho was confined to the stands at the Liberty Stadium, where first half goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2) and Paul Pogba helped United to only a second League victory in eight games.
Before the match the United manager ran through the team news with MUTV and said: “Smalling doesn’t feel that he can play 100% 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.”
Rather pointedly Mourinho added: “Daley Blind has some problems but he put himself available to be on the bench and to try to help the team, so the people that are here are people that I trust for a difficult match.”
However, after Manchester United’s consummate 3-1 success, Mourinho was happy to face the press and explain his earlier comments on MUTV.
“We have players with problems, but we also have players on the pitch who have problems,” he said.
“And that is what I mean, because in every sport, and I know that because I have friends from other sports, playing at the highest level. How many times do they play when they are not 100%?
“I have a friend who is a big tennis player and he tells me that he remembers more times when he has played with pain than the times he has played without any pain. To compete, you have to work to the limits.
“It is a cultural thing, for some. That’s not my culture.”
Asked if players needed to change to play for him, Mourinho said; “Exactly, but more than me, Man United. More than me, Man United.”
Despite Mourinho’s blast, he could have no complaints about the overall United performance yesterday.
“After the draw against Burnley we needed points,” he said.
“We put in a great performance against Burnley, but only came away with one point. We needed three points today, more than the performance. But we got both.
“Zlatan does not lack confidence. I used to say that a striker who doesn’t score goals and does nothing else, means you have one player less.
“A striker who doesn’t score goals, but does everything else, is a very important player for the team. When Zlatan was not scoring goals, he was doing everything else.”
While Ibrahimovic was calling the tune in the final third, it was veteran Michael Carrick who was dictating the pace of the game in front of his back four.
“I would love Michael to play every game, but that is not possible. He can’t play in every game for the same reason I can no longer go to the gym every day. But he started today and he played very, very well,” Mourinho added.
Not even a 69th minute headed goal from Mike van der Hoorn could bring a smile to the face of Swansea manager Bob Bradley, whose side are stuck in the relegation zone.
“We are in 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 understand all the areas where we need to be better,” Bradley said. – AFP