The Red Devils currently sit in the eighth position in the table with just 22 points.
Manchester United boss, Jose Mourinho cleared the air by insisting that his players are performing to the maximum of their potential despite repeated criticism made by him on their performances. Mourinho claimed that any allegation from anywhere that his players are not giving their best just because they don’t like him would be totally wrong.
The Portuguese tactician though has criticised the players time and again in his assessment on their performances especially in the last two league fixtures. He came out and said that the players lack heart after his side were held 0-0 at home by an underperforming Crystal Palace side. He continued the habit in the last fixture as well when he questioned their eagerness and suggested that there weren’t enough ‘mad dogs’ in his side.
The players though refrained from speaking to the media after their 2-2 draw against Southampton at the Saint Mary’s. However, reports suggest that there is disharmony inside the club dressing room, involving Mourinho terming French midfielder Paul Pogba as a ‘virus’ while he was agitated at Southampton.
“Are you asking or saying? I am not going to analyse the performance individually,” he said. “The names I gave at Southampton were the names that I chose in a positive way who showed that desire, that fighting spirit, that anger, that pride.”
The Manchester United boss though was not ready to accept the fact that his players were underperforming at will. “I am not agreeing with you or saying that some players don’t want to give the maximum,” he said. “I don’t share that view.” He also continued to suggest that the players are professional enough to continue playing professionally even if they do not get along with the manager very well.
“If you think a player only plays when, in your words, he is behind the manager, what I have to call these players – or, in this case, what you are calling them – is dishonest,” said Mourinho. “A football player is paid – and very well paid – to be a football professional.
“What is that? It is to train every day to his limits, to play every game to his limits, is to behave socially according to the nature of his job, is to respect the millions of fans around the world and to respect the club. “One thing is to perform well and not so well, another thing is to be a football professional.
“If you say that a player plays well or bad because of how good a manager is, you are calling the player dishonest.” He did not shy away to take a dig at former player Rio Ferdinand who suggested that the current players at the club may start a mutiny at the Old Trafford.
“When pundits, who were professional players, say that this player is not playing for the manager, did they do that when they were players? Were they dishonest players?” said Mourinho. “If they were, they shouldn’t be in front of a camera speaking to millions of people.”
“You analyse a player by asking: ‘Is he performing, yes or no?’ You shouldn’t go in that direction because you are calling the players dishonest. “Do you believe a player scores in his own goal and then runs and celebrates, saying: ‘I scored in my own goal because I don’t like the manager’? Do you believe in that? I don’t believe in that.”
Although Mourinho and his men should put all their focus on their next fixture which will be very crucial against high flying Arsenal at home. The only advantage for the Red Devils will be the home support whereas Arsenal who are coming fresh from a great 4-2 win over in the North London derby will be high on confidence and will look to continue their good form.