Manchester: Jose Mourinho believes Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard need to become more competitive to realise their potential, with Manchester United’s manager stating that generally the new generation of footballers are too pampered.
The quartet are United’s brightest young players, yet Mourinho continues to strive to help them comprehend what is needed if they are to take a place among the elite.
“They’re lacking maturity,” he told Univision, a US Spanish-language TV channel. “For example, Luke Shaw. When I got here two years ago, the boy didn’t even know how to compete. Great potential, yes, but he doesn’t know how to compete. And when we talk about Luke Shaw, about Martial, about Lingard, about Marcus Rashford, we’re talking about boys with great potential but who still are lacking — a word I can’t say but you like to say a lot — having that [courage]. They’re lacking a bit of this.”
Mourinho was interviewed by Hristo Stoichkov, the former Barcelona and Bulgaria forward with whom the Portuguese worked at the Camp Nou in the mid-90s.
Mourinho added: “In English, in the United States, people might say ‘spoiled’ or ‘spoiled kids’. Our children are more spoiled than we were by our own parents. We were more mature, we were better prepared. I think today’s kids have a different social life than ours and today’s players also have their surroundings, a word that was used a lot in Barcelona, the interior environment.
“In Barcelona, when they talk about the environment, they’re talking about a more global sense in relation to the club. When I use this word ‘environment’ I’m using it more in relation to the personal environment, to the people that come around the players, that protect them too much, who give them too much affection, too many excuses. Always making excuses makes you mature more slowly.
“[I mean] character, personality, like you [Stoichkov] said in Spanish — ‘mala hostia’ — that natural aggressiveness that you had.”
Mourinho also believes that there is no possibility that Alexis Sanchez will be sold in January. The former Arsenal forward has been in uneven form this season and is thought to be unsettled.
The manager is consistent in stating he will not keep a player at the club if they wish to leave. When reminded of this and asked whether there was any prospect of Sanchez departing, Mourinho said: “I don’t think he will leave because he never told me that he wants to leave or isn’t happy to stay. He is improving like the team is improving and when he plays he is giving us his personality, his desire to play and to produce for the team and trying to adapt to how we play. Can he do better? I think we can all do better. I can do better and he can do better and all the other players can also do better.”