Former Manchester United winger Lee Sharpe has “heard a little whisper” that Jose Mourinho is not giving his team proper tactical instructions ahead of games, claiming the manager had “gone into a bit of a sulk” following a difficult summer.
The 55-year-old cut a frustrated figure over pre-season with a number of senior players absent and a lack of new signings arriving over July and August.
And his side’s defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday, which saw Man United losing 3-1 at half time, has exponentially raised the level of gloom and concern surrounding the team.
According to Sharpe, speaking on talkSPORT, Mourinho is not giving his attacking players proper tactical instructions.
“I’ve heard a little whisper to say the manager is not really giving them a lot of instruction before games,” he said. “He’s just picking the team and letting them get on with it.”
“It seems to me that he hasn’t got the players in that he wanted this summer, and he’s gone into a bit of a sulk. He’s just let the players crack on and do their own thing.”
Whether Sharpe has actually heard these “whispers” or not is beside the point. What matters, really, is that United’s display at Brighton gives credence to these claims.
The overriding feeling among supporters during that game was less anger but more exasperation. “Just what exactly does Mourinho do with his players in training?” was what many were asking.
It did not look like Mourinho had been working with this group for three summers. If anything, it was like they had all only just met a few hours ago.
The Portuguese has always favoured an “individualismo” style of football, granting his attacking players responsibility to figure it out on their own, but with this ever-changing team – a mixture of Fergie’s old guard and new flashy signings – it is clear they require an overarching strategy to collectively subscribe to.