The Portuguese has been discussing the quartet in an interview with Hristo Stoichkov
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho sat down for an interview with Barcelona legend Hristo Stoichkov in October for Univision Deportes, the details of which only emerged on Friday.
It was initially reported that, in the interview, Mourinho had blasted four of his players – Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford – and accused them of ‘lacking character’.
But, according to a translation by the Manchester Evening News, Mourinho was making a more general point about the current generation of players and how they are not as ‘prepared for life’ as they were in his generation.
The MEN says Stoichkov asked Mourinho: “In your team there are lots of diamonds. What are they missing?”
Mourinho replied: “They are lacking maturity. Maturity that when you [Stoichcov] played, I think the youngsters… look at your situation, at my situation.
“I wasn’t a player, obviously, but when I say maturity I mean on a personal level. We were more like men. We were more mature. We were more prepared for life. Let’s say it like that. We were less protected.
“In English they call it ‘spoilt’, ‘spoilt kids’. Our kids are more spoilt than we were by our parents. We are more mature, we are better prepared. For young people now, it’s a different life on a social level compared to ours.
“Today’s players also in their surroundings, they have a word that was used a lot in Barcelona, entorno [environment] that they use in a more global, holistic sense in relation to the club. When I use the word I use it more in relation to a personal environment. To the people who surround the players, who protect them too much, who give them – in my opinion – too much care, too many excuses. There’s always an excuse for everything.
“People are maturing more slowly. For example, the young lad Luke Shaw, who is the left-back of the national team, who arrived there [at United] two years before me. He didn’t know how to compete. He had great potential, yes, but he didn’t know how to compete.
“When we talk about Luke Shaw, [Anthony] Martial, [Jesse] Lingard, Marcus Rashford, we’re talking about young lads but who also are still missing a word that I can’t use but you like to use. They are missing a bit of that. Character, personality, as they say in Spain as well, bad blood, that natural aggression that you had.”
How the quartet have performed this season
- Luke Shaw – 15 apps / 1 goal
- Anthony Martial – 14 apps / 7 goals
- Marcus Rashford – 13 apps / 2 goals
- Jesse Lingard – 10 apps / 0 goals
Mourinho’s comments about Shaw and Martial comes with the duo performing at the highest level they have ever done for United.
Shaw is widely regarded as United’s player of the season so far, and he was recently rewarded with a new contract, while France forward Martial has scored in each of his past five matches – netting six times in that run.
Rashford and Lingard have not been performing at a similarly high level, though they continue to impress while representing England on the international stage.
Mourinho will speak to the press on Friday ahead of United’s clash with Palace on Saturday.