Jose Mourinho questioned the attitude of his Manchester United players and claimed some of the squad care more about the team’s struggles than others.
United have made their joint-worst start to a Premier League season after losing 3-1 at West Ham on Saturday, while they were dumped out of the EFL Cup at home by Derby County last week.
Pressure on Mourinho has been growing, with reports suggesting United are lining up Zinedine Zidane, who won three Champions League titles in a row with Real Madrid before surprisingly resigning, as his successor.
And, speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League tie against Valencia at Old Trafford, Mourinho indicated he feels some United players do not care enough about their poor results.
“It’s like sometimes what it looks like is the opposite,” Mourinho told a news conference.
“You can be laughing but be the saddest person in the world, or you can be a fantastic actor and be inside very happy.
“Sometimes what you see is not what you get. I think that some care more than others.
“Every player is different, no player is the same, I see different reactions but sometimes what you see is not really what is inside.
“I see sad people, I see people who look like they didn’t lose, I see so-so, but two sessions of training that we had, everything normal, desire to work.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 1, 2018
Mourinho, though, refuted suggestions some United players have not been putting in enough effort to arrest the team’s slump.
“After 20 years of football I am still the kid that I was 20 years ago. I am still naive, but I still don’t believe that a player is not honest,” Mourinho said.
“If somebody says I was a footballer and once I didn’t do my best I change my opinion. Until then, they say they were dishonest, I will always believe players are honest and want to give their best.
“If they do it or not, if they perform, it’s a different story. But I repeat: I am naive and I still believe football players.”
— Luke Shaw (@LukeShaw23) September 18, 2018
Luke Shaw has often drawn Mourinho’s ire but the Portuguese agreed with the left-back’s assessment of a “horrendous” performance against West Ham, while accepting he must also take a share of the blame along with his players.
“It’s a collective thing. The same reason we win is the same reason we lose, it’s the responsibility of everyone,” Mourinho added. “Performance on the pitch in my opinion is the consequence of many factors.
“Luke Shaw for example said something I agree with but not totally – as I am part of it, as others are – but he said it’s about players on the pitch needing to perform and give more. I like that perspective but I don’t agree totally.
“It’s all of us, everybody in the club has a role to play, even the kit man and the nutritionist. I have a role to play. When we win we all win, when we lose we all lose. When we lose the responsibility is for everyone.”
Ashley Young, Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard are all unavailable to face Valencia due to injury.