Go easier on those with personal issues: PFA

LONDON • The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) has voiced concern over Jose Mourinho's criticism of Manchester United defenders Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw, urging the manager to show more empathy towards players with "personal problems".

The manager condemned Shaw and Smalling over the pair's apparent unwillingness to play through the pain barrier in Sunday's 3-1 Premier League win over Swansea City, saying they were not "brave" enough to feature.

"I was disappointed by that because, knowing the individuals, they are both highly thought of. They've got personal problems which I don't need to relay," PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor told Sky Sports.

"Sometimes a manager needs to be a psychologist as well, and also to be a counsellor because you can't treat everybody in the team the same, every manager must know that. Every player in a team is different."

Smalling, 26, has missed several matches with a foot injury but took a pain-killing injection to play against Chelsea last month, according to British media reports.

Shaw, 21, who recently returned following a 10-month injury layoff, has had a mixed start to the campaign and lost his place in the starting line-up after Mourinho publicly criticised him following United's loss at Watford in September.

"It's a short-term career and we're all human beings. I think that's what management these days has to be," Taylor added.

"I'm not talking about being soft, I'm talking about being understanding because to even get to the top in football you have got to succeed, as not so many actually make it in the game."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2016, with the headline 'Go easier on those with personal issues: PFA'. Print Edition | Subscribe