Play­ers aren’t sab­o­tag­ing my ef­forts: Mour­inho

The Phnom Penh Post - - SPORT -

JOSE Mour­inho in­sists his Manch­ester United play­ers are giv­ing their max­i­mum ef­fort de­spite re­peated crit­i­cism by him of their per­for­mances.

The 55-year-old United man­ager claimed any ac­cu­sa­tion his play­ers were un­der­per­form­ing be­cause they did not like him would be “dis­hon­est”.

Mour­inho has been with­er­ing in his as­sess­ment of United’s per­for­mances in their past two league matches, say­ing his play­ers lacked “heart” af­ter they were held 0-0 at home by Crys­tal Palace on Novem­ber 24.

He then sug­gested there were not enough “mad dogs” in his team fol­low­ing last Satur­day’s 2-2 draw at Southamp­ton.

None of United’s play­ers spoke to the me­dia af­ter the match at St Mary’s Sta­dium.

Yet there have been re­ports of dress­ing room dishar­mony, with Mour­inho re­port­edly com­par­ing France mid­fielder Paul Pogba to a “virus” in an an­gry rant at Southamp­ton.

Mour­inho has de­clined to com­ment on the lat­est re­ports of a fall-out with Pogba, and would not even be drawn on whether he thought the mid­fielder had played poorly at Southamp­ton.

“Are you ask­ing or say­ing? I am not go­ing to an­a­lyse the per­for­mance in­di­vid­u­ally,” he said.

“The names I gave at Southamp­ton were the names that I chose in a pos­i­tive way who showed that de­sire, that fight­ing spirit, that anger, that pride.”

Mour­inho, though, would not ac­cept his play­ers were un­der­per­form­ing de­lib­er­ately.

“I am not agree­ing with you or say­ing that some play­ers don’t want to give the max­i­mum,” he said.

“I don’t share that view.”

‘Call­ing the player dis­hon­est’

Speak­ing more gen­er­ally, he sug­gested play­ers are pro­fes­sional enough to con­tinue to give their best even if they do not get on with the man­ager.

“If you think a player only plays when, in your words, he is be­hind the man­ager, what I have to call these play­ers – or, in this case, what you are call­ing them – is dis­hon­est,” said Mour­inho.

“A foot­ball player is paid – and very well paid – to be a foot­ball pro­fes­sional.

“One thing is to per­form well and not so well, an­other thing is to be a foot­ball pro­fes­sional.

“If you say that a player plays well or bad be­cause of how good a man­ager is, you are call­ing the player dis­hon­est.”

He also crit­i­cised pun­dits such as for­mer United star Rio Fer­di­nand who have sug­gested this sea­son that there may be a player mutiny at Old Traf­ford.

“When pun­dits, who were pro­fes­sional play­ers, say that this player is not play­ing for the man­ager, did they do that when they were play­ers? Were they dis­hon­est play­ers?” he said.

“You an­a­lyse a player by ask­ing: ‘Is he per­form­ing, yes or no?’ You shouldn’t go in that di­rec­tion be­cause you are call­ing the play­ers dis­hon­est.

“Do you be­lieve a player scores in his own goal and then runs and cel­e­brates, say­ing: ‘I scored in my own goal be­cause I don’t like the man­ager’? I don’t be­lieve in that.”

OLI SCARFF/AFP

Mour­inho has been with­er­ing in his as­sess­ment of United’s per­for­mances, say­ing his play­ers lacked ‘heart’.

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