Football: Criticising United stars is common sense for Mourinho

Mourinho (above) has turned his guns on a number of players in his first season at Old Trafford.
Mourinho (above) has turned his guns on a number of players in his first season at Old Trafford.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Jose Mourinho claims his stinging criticism of several Manchester United stars is common sense if they are not giving 100 per cent.

Mourinho has turned his guns on a number of players in his first season at Old Trafford, with England left-back Luke Shaw and French forward Anthony Martial suffering recent blasts from the United manager.

Some pundits feel Mourinho has gone too far with his public approach to chastising players.

But asked if that was a calculated risk, Mourinho told Sky Sports on Tuesday (April 25): "I don't care. I don't even think about it.

"I just try to be who I am. I just try to be honest and direct, and I don't think about the consequences.

"You give me everything you have, I thank you for that. You don't give me everything you have, I ask you for more. That is just common sense."

Mourinho has been willing to praise those he believes are following his advice, with 19-year-old forward Marcus Rashford, scorer of three goals in United's last five games, a current favourite of the Portuguese coach.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's crucial Premier League clash with Manchester City, Mourinho added: "When you give everything you have, I cannot demand more from you, and Marcus, even not performing especially well, was giving absolutely everything.

"So I could never demand more from him. I could just support and say that better days will arrive, but I am always super happy with the approach from such a young and talented kid.

"Some other guys don't give everything they have, so that is the point - they have to. And when they do it, I am happy with them. It doesn't matter the way they perform."

United head into Thursday's contest with considerable injury problems, including what the club have described as "serious" knee ligament damage sustained last week by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, their 28-goal top scorer.

While Mourinho would not be drawn on the future of the 35-year-old Swedish striker, whose contract with United is due to expire at the end of the season, he did confirm Ibrahimovic had travelled to the United States for surgery.

"He is in America to have the surgery and start the recovering process, and that is the only thing that matters for us," he said.

United are currently fifth in the table, one point behind fourth-placed City with both having five more league fixtures to go after Thursday's.

Mourinho's side have already won the League Cup this season and have reached the semi-finals of the Europa League, a competition that has a Champions League spot for its winners.

"I always feel that the season is very important for me, for the players, for the club," Mourinho said.

"I would say it can be the first season of the next five or six or seven, who knows, but it can be the first season of better years."