The current mood in the United camp is not at its merriest. There is tremendous pressure on the manager, Jose Mourinho. Having bowed out of the Champions League, Jose’s men just have the FA Cup as the tournament that is winnable. United have been drawn against Spurs in the semi-finals. The public, media and pundits have all fired shots of rage against the boss for his treatment of his players, right after he publicly criticized his players for ‘hiding’ and not showing ‘intent’ to play for the club.
Recent reports suggest that Mourinho has lost the support of few players in the dressing room and also the confidence of few board members. The tabloids have said that Mourinho will take his anger out on the transfer market by selling 7 to 8 senior team members who he doesn’t deem fit enough or that does not have the intent to play for the club. Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, Chris Smalling, Anthony Martial, Phil Jones, Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian and Marouane Fellaini all seem to be heading out of the door. However, the reports aren’t true, but definitely should expect major developments in the transfer market and also start seeing the devil angel side of Mourinho who will start implementing harsh methods and act ruthless in order to start succeeding and give the fans something to cheer and feel proud of, Titles. The team has been going through a lot of criticism from various sources, some also being previous managers and former players and pundits. But, critics are part of football and the players shouldn’t see this as an obstacle to disrupt their game.
Jose’s criticism may not take a toil on all players, some may even improve and make things up again and some may start feeling the pressure and lose hope. But, let’s talk about the player who has received the harshest criticism from the manager, Luke Shaw.
Luke Shaw’s situation at United has been a very peculiar one. Upon signing back in 2014, he was one of the best left-backs in the league and also featured in the team of the year at a slender age of 19. But ever since his horrific injury, things have not been good for him. Now 22, Shaw has received harsh words from the manager, who started him against the Brighton in the FA Cup quarter finals and subbed him off at half time for Ashley Young only due to a defensive lapse even though the match was finished 2 – 0 and the clean sheet was maintained. In his post-match interview, Jose said that Shaw had reportedly begged him to substitute him, but we all know that wasn’t the case, but was the first signs of a ruthless Mourinho. Shaw has been linked with a move away from United once again and is rumored to be unsettled and hasn’t taken the gaffers words nicely.
Let’s look at the two possibilities on this debate. Is Jose criticising Shaw only to toughen him up or he wants him out of his books?
Taking the positive side of the situation, Shaw is being criticised by the same manager, who not so long ago called him a future club great and will be a world-class player. We have to understand the tremendous amount of pressure Shaw is going through, having recovered from a horrific leg injury and its aftermath and maintaining his fitness. Mourinho could have slated Shaw, only to improve his game and also to remind him that he is playing for Manchester United and the stakes are always going to be high. Mourinho wouldn’t have criticised him, unless he saw something in him, which is potential. Before his arrival, Shaw was a target for Mourinho at Chelsea but was beaten by Louis Van Gaal to his signature. Jose knew about his condition when he arrived at Old Trafford and would have first thing sold him, if he didn’t want to take a risk with an injury prone player. He trusted him and supported him from the media on multiple occasions and kept faith in him for three transfer windows. Jose has kept his patience only because he see’s something in a player, which many don’t. Shaw has the commitment and desire to play at United and he increases the dynamism in the play whenever he is on the pitch. His speedy recovery clearly shows his desire and intent. To look at the positive side, Mourinho is just criticizing him in order to toughen him up and remind him that it is a mean word out there full of competition, greed and money.
Going against the debate, Mourinho must have really been ruthless towards Shaw and lost all hope and confidence in the player he once backed. If the rumors of an unsettled United camp on the Shaw front is true, then it is really a serious issue. The team would start showing hostility towards Mourinho and call for his removal as no one would want to be publicly hammered by their own manager and thus start feeling insecure and threatened. The same could be happening with Shaw, fed up with his treatment, he would want out of the club and with many suitors in for him, finding a new club wouldn’t be difficult. Mourinho is also looking for an upgrade in left back due to an aging Ashley Young, who just earned a new contract extension and a replacement for a possible outgoing Shaw. United have been linked with a move for Alex Sandro, Ryan Sessegnon and Marcos Alonso as possible replacements. Mourinho’s this move could and very well has hampered Shaw’s chances of going to the World Cup with England this summer.
The perfect decision would be to loan Shaw out in order for him to gain experience and confidence. Or, to just keep faith in him and give him time and consistent game time. He is too good to be let go and considered a liability.