José Mourinho: Some United players ‘care more than others’
Portuguese manager says squad and staff take collective responsibility
José Mourinho insists he still has the support of the players at Manchester United, though he pointedly added that “some care more than others” about recent results and the poor form that has put the manager’s job at risk.
United go into Tuesday’s Champions League game with Valencia on the back of successive defeats by Derby County and West Ham, and though Mourinho would not reveal whether he has had conversations with the executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward on the subject he does not believe his days in Manchester are numbered.
“I don’t think that,” he said. “What I can do to improve things I do, and I will improve the things at the club that depend on me and my work, but it’s a collective thing. The reason why we don’t win games is the responsibility of everybody. The performance on the pitch is a consequence of many factors and we all have to improve.”
The full-back Luke Shaw said as much after the damaging defeat at the London Stadium at the weekend, and rather than criticising the player for his verdict of “horrendous” on the performance Mourinho said he felt the same way.
“What Luke Shaw said is something I agree with but not totally because I am part of it too,” Mourinho said. “He said: ‘We players on the pitch have to perform, we have to give more’ and I like that perspective, but it’s not the whole story. It’s all of us. Everybody in the club has a role to play, from the kit man and the nutritionist to the manager. Everyone has a job to do and when we lose everyone should take responsibility.”
Mourinho would not name names, though when asked whether his players care enough about playing for him and for United his response was: “I think some care more than others.” Nonetheless Mourinho rejects any that some members of his squad are deliberately underperforming in order to bring about his removal. “Every player is different; no two are the same,” he said. “You get different reactions [to adversity]. I see some people upset and some who don’t look like they lost a game. But in the little two training sessions we have had since the last defeat I would say everything is normal, there is a great desire to work and play.”
Statistics suggest United had more than just an off day at West Ham – by some metrics it was the worst performance from any side in the division – and Mourinho has first-hand experience of apparently demotivated players from his final, painful season at Chelsea. Yet for public consumption at least he remains positive, even going so far as to describe himself as naive, as unlikely as that sounds.
“After 20 years in football, I am still the kid I was at the start,” he said. “Perhaps I am naive but I still don’t believe that a footballer is not honest. Until I hear a top player confessing that sometimes he didn’t give his best I won’t change my opinion. I have never heard anyone who was a big professional player admitting he was dishonest. I have never known a player go into a game not wanting to give his maximum. They don’t always perform the way you would like but that’s a different thing. I repeat, you can call me naive if you like but I still believe the player is an honest man.” – Guardian service