Former Liverpool full-back Steve Nicol believes Jose Mourinho’s harsh treatment of Luke Shaw earlier this season has discouraged the youngster from fighting for him at Manchester United.
The 53-year-old publicly lambasted Shaw following Man United’s 3-1 defeat to Watford earlier in the season, leading to many criticising the manager for failing to identity wider issues with his side.
Mourinho was once again critical of the Shaw’s attitude following United’s 3-1 win over Swansea City after the youngster claimed to be ‘not 100%’ on the morning before the game with Bob Bradley’s side
Nicol, speaking on ESPN, claimed the Special One’s treatment of Shaw could have an adverse effect.
“I’m not surprised that Shaw isn’t going to go and fight for Jose Mourinho,” Nicol said.
“Most players at some stage play with knocks and bumps, and there are times when it is a bit more serious but because the manager is asking you to do it for him. You do it.
“But, after he (Mourinho) outed Shaw earlier in the season, why does he think Shaw at any stage is going to step up and help him? Because I certainly wouldn’t.”
Publicly criticising young, promising English players is – unsurprisingly – universally deplored by the nation’s footballing audience, but is it actually wrong?
In the eyes of Mourinho – a staunch, warrior-like pragmatist – the answer is no. Playing at this level is no cakewalk, and those who don’t live up to the manager’s standards are called out for all to see. This is not to merely denigrate; public criticism is a source of motivation – a chance for the player in question to set the record straight. Sir Alex Ferguson, as some seem to forget, employed this motivational tactic on a regular basis.
One suspects that Shaw, hearing what Mourinho said on Sunday, will ramp up his already impressive level of dedication in the coming weeks, as opposed to sulking at home.