Alan Shearer backs Jose Mourinho’s decision to publicly criticise United’s players

by Leo Nieboer

Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer has backed Jose Mourinho’s decision to publicly criticise both Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw.

Both Smalling and Shaw failed to make the squad for Manchester United’s visit to Swansea City on Sunday due to a lack of mental readiness following recent exertions.

Mourinho, speaking after Man United’s 3-1 win in South Wales, insisted the aforementioned pair, amongst others, needed to harden their attitudes in the coming months.

Shearer endorsed the 53-year-old’s decision to publicly criticise his players.

“In my experience, very rarely are you ever 100 per cent fit when you go out onto the pitch to play,” he said.

“Whether you take anti-inflammatories or whatever, very rarely are you 100 per cent.

“When [Mourinho] was at Chelsea the first time he had warriors – [Didier] Drogba, [Frank] Lampard, [John] Terry, [Claude] Makelele, [Petr] Cech, all of these guys you would never question.

“And he is becoming more and more vocal, Mourinho, in digging out his players in public, which was very rare during that time at Chelsea.”

United have appointed three new managers since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson and, as well all know, they continue to fall into the same traps. Which begs the question: at what point to you stop blaming the manager and instead focus on the players themselves?

Mourinho, for all the criticism thrown his way, has done something that both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal failed to meaningfully do – diagnose the mental fragility pervading this United side. Not just diagnose, in fact, but actively outline (in public) the various tenets of this impasse.

All successful sides under Mourinho have boasted a ruthless mentality – a kind of barbaric, win-at-all-costs mindset that saw the Special One dominate on a domestic and continental level for so many years. And this, as the 53-year-old has noted, is the first step for this United side – to abandon their current lukewarm attitude and turn into warriors.

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