Jose Mourinho has reassured defenders Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling over their Manchester United futures, report the Express.
Mourinho publicly criticised the two England internationals after his side’s victory over Swansea at the weekend, but the Express believe he has told the both of them that they remain part of his plans as he attempts to rebuild United.
The Express note that Mourinho’s criticism of the pair was part of a broader message intended to prompt the rest of his squad to ‘man up’.
Manchester United have struggled in recent weeks and have won just two of their last eight Premier League games. This run of poor form has left them sitting sixth in the table, trailing leaders Liverpool by eight points.
What will likely be more of a concern for Mourinho and the United chiefs is that the competition for Champions League qualification has never been tougher. The current top four is made up of Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal – all of whom have presented their credentials early in the season.
United cannot allow the gap between themselves and their rivals to grow any further. Both Smalling and Shaw will need to improve their performances if they are going to turn their side’s form around.