Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has slammed Jose Mourinho’s approach to man management.
Mourinho criticised his forward line after Saturday’s draw against West Brom and then singled out Luke Shaw before the Everton game, saying the 21-year-old was a “long way behind” his team-mates. Mourinho took a similar approach to Henrikh Mkhitaryan earlier in the season.
If Mourinho was looking for a reaction to his players, it did not appear to work as his side laboured to their ninth home draw of the season on Tuesday night.
And Ferdinand, who spent 12 years at Old Trafford, told BT Sport he was not impressed with the public criticism.
“When a manager goes public it’s a dangerous thing,” he said. “You’re not winning, so there’s a chance the changing room could react in a negative way.”
Mourinho’s management style did cause problems at Real Madrid and Chelsea. He fell out with players at both clubs and accused those in west London of ‘betraying’ him and costing him his job.
United’s latest draw leaves them fifth in the table, three points behind local rivals City. Arsenal could even push United down to sixth if they beat West Ham on Wednesday and Mourinho admitted some of his players were suffering form a lack of confidence.
Speaking after Tuesday’s draw, he said: “I could feel some of the boys a bit in trouble by the confidence levels.
“When the confidence levels are not high the quality of the performance is not easy to improve so we had to go through a short cut.
“We started playing in a way where we don’t feel so much the lack of confidence of some of the boys, so we start playing more direct.
“We tried everything and in the end the goal arrived. From the points point of view it is not that important – zero or one doesn’t make a huge difference – but it is a good feeling for the boys not to lose.”
Mourinho’s men are unbeaten in their last 20 league games, but he has no doubt they are not scoring enough goals.
“Twenty matches unbeaten is amazing,” he said.
“I would sign immediately for that next year because in the modern Premier League it is really, really difficult to do – but we need to score goals to win matches.
“We don’t score enough goals, it is as simple as that.
“The pragmatism is – how many goals have (Marcus) Rashford, (Jesse) Lingard, (Henrikh) Mkhitaryan, (Ander) Herrera, (Paul) Pogba scored? How many goals from these attacking players? Not enough.”
Mourinho confirmed 19-year-old forward Rashford, who has not scored a league goal since September, was one of those having trouble on the confidence front, but described him as “phenomenal…an amazing professional” and stressed “the only thing he deserves is support.”
With regard to Luke Shaw, Mourinho was less emphatic in his praise.
After being left out of United’s squad over the weekend despite being fit and publicly criticised by Mourinho, Shaw returned to the 18 for this match and made a key contribution after coming on in the 65th minute, with the penalty being awarded when his strike was handled by Ashley Williams, who was sent off.
Mourinho said Shaw had produced a “very positive performance”, but also claimed he had been “making every decision” for the left-back.
“He had a good performance but it was his body with my brain,” Mourinho said.
“Because he was in front of me and I was making every decision for him.
“We need at this level the fantastic body he has to play football, the fantastic physical qualities he has, the very good technical ability he has – but he cannot play with my understanding of the game.
“He must understand the game, he must think, and he must accelerate the process.
“Twenty-one years old is old enough to have a better understanding of the game – but his contribution was good.
“He goes today in a positive feeling because his performance was very positive. I’m happy with what he gave us.”