It’s difficult to understand the benefit of singling players out for criticism, but Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho did it again this weekend with Luke Shaw.
In January, the Portuguese tactician labelled Shaw ‘one of the best’ left-backs, as per the club’s official site, and so it appeared as though the 22-year-old has put his injury troubles, fitness problems and form issues behind him to earn the faith of his manager.
However, he’s still only managed 15 appearances in all competitions so far this season, and after being substituted at half-time in the FA Cup win over Brighton on Saturday, it looks as though he could be back to square one at Old Trafford.
As seen in the video below, Mourinho pulled no punches when asked about the decision to replace Shaw, and although he was critical of most of his Man Utd team aside from Nemanja Matic, it’s the England international who was a big talking point on the Sunday Supplement on Sky Sports.
“Mati? was an island of personality, surrounded by not water but lack of class and desire. I have to say that.”
Another strong interview from the Man Utd boss…
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 18, 2018
The Guardian’s Stuart James believes that Shaw has ultimately become an ‘easy scapegoat’ for Mourinho, although he agrees that it’s difficult to understand the logic and see the benefit of being so public with his criticism.
“He seems like an easy scapegoat and I don’t know how that’s perceived by Shaw, but also the other players,” he told Sky Sports.
“The attack yesterday was on the bulk of the squad. They have to be strong enough to deal with that, but I find it difficult to believe how that can have a positive impact on those players.”
Fellow panelist Andy Dunn of The Mirror labelled it a ‘brutal substitution’ and suggested that perhaps Mourinho had some ‘underlying agenda’ with the whole matter having defended his players after their defeat to Sevilla in the Champions League.
While the performance may not have been perfect, it just seems like another unnecessary outburst from Mourinho having seen his side get back to winning ways. It comes just a day after that now viral rant in his press conference, as reported by BBC Sport, and so it will be interesting to hear from him through the remainder of the campaign.