José Mourinho has never been one to shy away from criticising players when they deserve it, and with Manchester United currently 8th in the Premier League, it was only a matter of time before he said something.
The international break seemed like the perfect time to do it, and that’s exactly what happened when the Red Devils manager sat down with Univision, and discussed the youngsters in his squad.
Told he had a lot of ‘diamonds’ at his disposal, Mourinho was asked what they were lacking, we’re guessing in order to take their game, and therefore their team’s, to the next level.
The Portuguese, as per usual, went straight to the point.
He said: “Maturity. When I say that, I mean maturity at a personal level. We (talking to the interviewer) are more men, we are more mature, we were more prepared to face life. We were less protected. In England, they call it ‘spoilt’. Today, we’re talking about ‘spoilt kids’. Our children are more ‘spoilt’ than we were.
“I think kids these days have a different social life than us, and players have around them an ‘entourage’, and I mean a personal entourage, the people that surround them, that protect them more, give them more affection, more excuses. They reach maturity more slowly.
“For example, this kid, Luke Shaw, who is currently the national team’s left-back, when I arrived here two years ago, he didn’t know how to compete. He had great potential, yes, but he didn’t know how to compete. When we talk about Luke Shaw, Martial, Lingard, Rashford, we’re talking about kids with great potential but still lack a word I can’t say but that you like a lot… they lack a bit of that.”
Our best guess there is that Mourinho, speaking in Spanish, wanted to say ‘cojones’, which means ‘balls’, but the interviewer then puts forward ‘character’, which Mourinho agreed with, also adding ‘lacking personality and that natural aggression’.
All in all, there’s little you can disagree with, but one thing is sure, it’s that Mourinho didn’t say that Luke Shaw ‘doesn’t know how to behave’, as certain translations going around are saying.
Furthermore, it’s worth pointing out that he was, in the defender’s case, talking about when he first arrived at Manchester two years ago, not now.