LONDON • The rumblings continue at Manchester United, on the eve of their League Cup match against Northampton Town, with defender Luke Shaw reportedly unhappy at being publicly criticised by Jose Mourinho.
The England left-back feels that he would benefit more from private instruction from the United manager, rather than being made a scapegoat for Sunday's 3-1 defeat by Watford.
Shaw suffered a recurrence of a long-standing groin injury in the second half at Vicarage Road that will see him miss out against Northampton. He was attempting to play through the pain when he made the mistake that enabled Watford to reclaim the lead with their second goal.
Mourinho did not disclose Shaw's injury, which United fear will keep the player out for up to three weeks, after the game and was scathing about his performance, singling out the left-back for failing to close down Nordin Amrabat before Juan Camilo Zuniga's 84th-minute strike.
The 21-year-old was substituted two minutes later by Mourinho.
The manager exchanged strong words with Shaw when he returned to the substitutes' bench and went on to criticise his failure to "jump and press" Amrabat, but the defender may have been physically unable to get closer to the Dutch winger.
GAME PASSES IBRA BY
Ibra is a cone. People talk about his stats... but he's a cone... it's not possible to do that. It's English football, it goes at 2,000 kilometres an hour.
CHRISTOPHE DUGARRY , former Barcelona striker and current radio commentator, criticising striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and manager Jose Mourinho for Manchester United's poor run.
GAME OVER FOR MOURINHO
He's lost the plot. He believes he has become more important than the team. Tactically, he doesn't put anything in place. Apart from the players, who have changed, it's the same organisation as last season under (Louis) van Gaal.
DUGARRY feels there is no real change at Old Trafford under Mourinho.
Shaw was due to have a scan yesterday after being examined by United's medical team and the problem will rule him out of today's game against Northampton Town.
Many of Shaw's team-mates were shocked by Mourinho's public criticism of a player who has suffered with physical and mental frailties.
Shaw's time at Old Trafford has been dogged by injuries, including five hamstring and groin-related problems in his first season before he suffered a broken leg at the start of last season. He has had regular sessions with a sports psychologist after struggling with the pressure of playing for United.
His relationship with Mourinho is also potentially problematic after the manager opted against signing him for Chelsea two years ago.
The London club were favourites to recruit Shaw from Southampton before United signed him for £30 million (S$53 million), but Mourinho did not think he was worth the money.
Forward Anthony Martial's availability for the Northampton game is also uncertain because the extent of the injury suffered in a clash of heads with Daryl Janmaat is unclear.
For Mourinho, the League Cup may not be his No. 1 priority this season, but he will be determined to put an end to a run of three defeats in the last week - including losses to bitter rivals Manchester City in the Premier League and Feyenoord in the Europa League.
The Portuguese made eight changes for the trip to Feyenoord and then another five for the reversal at Vicarage Road, so he may be inclined to shuffle his United pack again for this tie.
However, nobody in the United camp will be underestimating Northampton.
Having been promoted as convincing champions from League Two last season, they're 11th in the early League One table and their 31-game unbeaten league run stretching back to December last year ended only on Saturday - with a 3-1 defeat by Chesterfield.
Northampton knocked out West Bromwich Albion on penalties in the last round of the League Cup and manager Rob Page said: "We've now got a fantastic game to look forward to and I guarantee we will be ready for Manchester United on Wednesday."
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN
NORTHAMPTON V MAN UNITED
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