The umbrella body for all professional football players in England, the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) has expressed concern with the manner in which Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho publicly criticised Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw recently.
The 53-year-old Red Devils boss stated that the players were not brave enough to “play with a little pain”. It is not uncommon for managers to criticize their players, but humiliating them in front of the whole world leaves a lot to be desired. Mourinho insisted that the pair didn’t play against Swansea as they were unwilling to play through the pain barrier.
The PFA, which represents the overall welfare of players playing in the Premier League, Championship, League One and League two divisions of the football hierarchy in England, has condemned the action of the manager, saying he should have more “empathy towards players with personal problems”.
Chris Smalling had injury concerns throughout pre-season and last featured for United in the 4-0 mauling at Chelsea, a game in which British media outlets claimed Smalling played with injections to feature in that game. Shaw, on the other hand, suffered a 10-month injury layoff back last season, was also criticized by Mourinho after his performance in the 3-1 loss to Watford back to September.
Gordon Taylor, the Chief Executive of the PFA, while speaking to Sky Sports said: “I was disappointed by that because, knowing the individuals, they are both highly thought of. They’have got personal problems which I don’t need to relay.
“Sometimes a manager needs to be a psychologist as well, and also to be a counsellor because you can’t treat everybody in the team the same, every manager must know that. Every player in a team is different.” he added.
In recent weeks, the mood at Manchester United has looked glum. Mourinho has criticised players publicly, questioned the medical department and is said to be distant to the players on the training ground. It would be interesting to see how he reacts to this. He may go on the offensive once again, or choose to remain silent, after being served a stadium ban for recent oral misdemeanors.