It's never nice when Manchester United lose a game of football, but at least we get to indulge in some highly exciting post-defeat intrigue. Today's revelation comes from The Times [£] which brings us the bad news that Luke Shaw re-injured his groin at some point during Sunday's defeat to Watford, and was playing through pain at the time of the second goal, in which he failed to close down Nordin Amrabat.
Shaw went off shortly afterwards, and The Times states that after exchanging words with his player as he returned from the bench, Mourinho was "scathing" in his post-match press conference, and:
condemned Shaw for failing to learn lessons from United’s 2-1 defeat by Manchester City the previous week, when Aleksandar Kolarov was given space to create Kevin De Bruyne’s opening goal, as well as questioning his “tactical and mental” attitude.
Even more concerning, apparently "many" of Shaw's teammates are "shocked by Mourinho’s treatment of a player who has suffered with physical and mental frailties throughout his short career".
Oddly, the Times don't include Mourinho's full quote. Luckily for us, the Independent have got it:
I knew I had a task. But the first Man City goal [during the 2-1 defeat last weekend] and this second goal, you can find incredible similarity. [Aleksandar] Kolarov has the ball in a difficult situation in the corner and my player instead of going up and pressing decides to give him space. Today for the second goal, [Nordin] Amrabat on the right side, our left back is 25 metres distance from him, instead of five metres.
But even at 25 metres, then you have to jump and go press. But no, we wait. This is a tactical but also a mental attitude. In a couple of weeks, everything like this becomes perfect. That's my job.
Er ... ouch?
We're not having that as "scathing". "Critical"? Yes, albeit blandly. Maybe we'd go so far as to say "pointed". But we're some distance from "scathing" and nowhere near "condemned"; we're barely even at "angry". Not least because it ends with him saying that he's going to fix it. And in the wider context, it does rather look like he's talking about the "tactical and mental attitude" of the entire team, not just Shaw. "We", after all.
TBB, as outsiders, cannot rule out the possibility that he was more "scathing" to some of the press than others, even if the similarity between the short quotes in the Times's piece and the longer one in the Indy seems indicative. And we don't know what's been said behind the scenes to these many shocked teammates: maybe he scathed away properly in the dressing room. And this is all in the context of Shaw's well-known issues, both mental and physical, following his move from Southampton ... but still.
One to watch? Yes. One to worry about? Maybe, not least because a leaky dressing room means somebody's unhappy and an injured Shaw means Marcos Rojo. "Scathing condemnation"? Not for us, Clive.