Mourinho in fresh tirade

Romelu Lukaku opening accounts for Manchester United in their 2-0 win over Brighton. Jose Mourinho had hinted before Saturday's game that his stars were not up to the mark and he left Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez out.
Romelu Lukaku opening accounts for Manchester United in their 2-0 win over Brighton. Jose Mourinho had hinted before Saturday's game that his stars were not up to the mark and he left Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez out.PHOTO: REUTERS

United boss lambasts players for lacking class and drive despite beating Brighton in FA Cup

LONDON • Just a day after he took on his critics in a 12-minute monologue at a news conference, Jose Mourinho blasted his Manchester United players after they reached the FA Cup semi-finals - accusing them of "a lack of personality, lack of class and lack of desire".

The Portuguese manager turned his attention to his men after yet another lacklustre performance in their 2-0 quarter-final win over Brighton at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Only Nemanja Matic, who set up the opening goal for Romelu Lukaku before scoring a late second himself, and youngster Scott McTominay were spared criticism.

"I didn't like the game," said Mourinho, who claimed he was looking for a response to the midweek Champions League loss to Sevilla.

"I think we deserved to win but I didn't have the reaction from all of them. I had the reaction from only some of them. Some of them were mentally strong enough with the football quality to play - that was the reason we won.

"But a team of 11, when you have only six or seven players performing and wanting to play, it is difficult to have a good performance."

Luke Shaw, who started his first game in a month, was the one player named as having failed to follow the boss' game plan and was, accordingly, substituted at half-time.

AT LEAST HE TRIED

He played bad, but he was not afraid to play. A few of the guys, I saw them scared to play.

JOSE MOURINHO, Manchester United manager, lauding 21-year-old Scott McTominay for his effort and attitude despite a poor performance.

That made the England fullback an obvious target for Mourinho to be questioned about in his post-match conference, although the manager clearly had other players in mind when issuing his widespread critique.

"I wanted more personality in the team because many times I felt that Matic was an island of personality, desire and control surrounded by lack of personality, lack of class and lack of desire," he said.

"I have to say that for example McTominay lost more passes today than in all the matches he played put together but he was a Manchester United player.

"And for me a Manchester United player is one who when he plays badly still gives to the team. That is a question of personality, that is a Manchester United player for me. And that is what some of the others did not have."

Mourinho had hinted before the game that many of his stars are currently underperforming and, tellingly, Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez were both left out of his starting line-up.

"You have the kid that didn't play well at all (McTominay). But I was positive with him because he did the basic things that one player has to do," the 55-year-old added.

"The basic things is to keep the emotional balance to play with that red shirt, which is a heavy shirt to wear. And the kid, in his worst performance by far, he was there and he had the body to wear that shirt.

"He played bad, but he was not afraid to play. A few of the guys, I saw them scared to play.

"You know when the sun is shining and everything goes well, every player is confident to play and every player looks amazing.

"When it is dark and cold, and that in football means a period of bad results or a bad result like what happened to us a couple of days ago, not everybody has the confidence and the personality to play really."

Mourinho also showed particular anger that his demand in training for a quicker and more incisive transition game had not been carried out in practice.

"When I spend two days working on this and then I arrive here, attacking players hiding behind defenders, not wanting the ball between the lines, defenders playing just square passes and taking 10 to 12 passes to get from one line to another line, I have to feel frustrated," he explained.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2018, with the headline 'Mourinho in fresh tirade'. Print Edition | Subscribe