Jamie Carragher insists Jose Mourinho should be allowed to criticise his players in public and people should embrace the Manchester United manager’s brutal honesty.
An article earlier this week suggested United’s players were angry at Mourinho for voicing his anger at Luke Shaw’s display at Watford, with claims made that the Portuguese coach’s “mystique had gone”.
But writing in his weekly Daily Mail column, former Liverpool defender Carragher believes Mourinho was perfectly right to voice his concerns about his individuals in the light of last weekend’s woeful performance at Vicarage Road.
He also questions why Mourinho, who has not changed his approach to management since his arrival in the Premier League in 2004, is now facing criticism for effectively showing the same honesty as he did all those years ago.
‘Jose Mourinho was angry and could no longer contain his feelings. So, after a crucial match had ended, he walked into a packed press conference, chose his words carefully and publicly criticised one of his players.
‘When he scored the goal, the game finished for him,’ Mourinho said. ‘After that, I needed 11 players for my defensive organisation and I had just 10. He has to improve when the team need him to be part of defensive organisation.’
‘Those words were delivered by Mourinho on October 3, 2004 and they were about Joe Cole. He had just scored Chelsea’s winner against Liverpool. Cole had been given some praise but the fact he had not continued to do his job led Mourinho to be brutally honest.’
‘Do you remember how everyone thought he was a breath of fresh air? Jose was box office then. He was new to the English game but he delivered home truths and his honesty struck a chord. He was tough but he was a winning machine. If he singled out a player in public, what was the problem?
‘Now fast forward to last Sunday. Mourinho was angry and could no longer contain his feelings. So, after a crucial match had ended, he walked into a packed press conference, chose his words carefully and publicly criticised one of his players.
‘The second goal, Nordin Amrabat on the right side, our left back is 25 metres distance from him instead of five metres,’ said Mourinho. ‘Even at 25 metres, then you have to jump and go press. But, no. We wait. Some of the boys are having trouble coping with negativity.’
Carragher on Luke Shaw
‘Luke Shaw was the player in question. Mourinho was right in his assessment of the goal that led Manchester United to lose at Watford. I’m not condoning this happening every week but there is nothing wrong if a manager publicly criticises someone now and again to get a reaction.
‘Yet Vicarage Road presented a problem for Mourinho, one that showed how football has become a game of double standards.
‘Managers aren’t allowed to say anything bad about players now, not even if their criticism is valid, in case they get upset.
‘I couldn’t believe someone chose to inform a newspaper on Shaw’s behalf that England’s left back was unhappy at the way Mourinho spoke about him. I was equally amazed to read a report that other players were ‘shocked’ by some of his words behind closed doors.
‘These players represent Manchester United, a club where you have to win. They haven’t done much winning for three years but they have become good at whining. Maybe that says more about them than about Mourinho?
‘Mourinho no different to Fergie’
‘And let’s not think that he is the first United manager to employ such a tactic. Remember this?
‘We were playing really good football and all we needed to do was see out the game by keeping possession but Nani decided to try and beat a player, lost the ball and they got a penalty.’
‘I took Wayne off because Villa were a very fast, young side, full of running and their substitute was running past him.’
‘They are two of many examples from Sir Alex Ferguson. The first quote was after a League Cup tie that United lost 5-4 at Chelsea in the last minute; the second was delivered on the night United won the title in 2013. If he felt criticism needed to be aired in public, Ferguson did not flinch.
‘Wouldn’t it have been refreshing if Shaw had actually come out and said Mourinho was right? Shaw is there to stop crosses coming in from the wing and help his team keep a clean sheet. Against Watford and Manchester City, he didn’t do his job.
‘His reaction, however, means Mourinho has to contend with accusations that he will lose the dressing room. It’s absolutely pathetic. He was tough in 2006, when he took off Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joe Cole after 26 minutes of a game against Fulham. Now he is portrayed as a tyrant.’