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José Mourinho praises "happy" Anthony Martial, isn't being sarcastic?

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Toto is out of the Mourinho Naughty Corner.

Manchester United v Burton Albion - Carabao Cup Third Round
For Martial, this passes for a smile.
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

What is the purpose of happiness? To some, it is the highest end a human being can pursue. To others, a room without a roof, a warm gun, and a cigar called Hamlet. The United States of America was founded on the principle that the pursuit of happiness, along with life and liberty, was one of the three unalienable rights of human beings (though they had some strange ideas about who exactly qualified as a whole human being).

For José Mourinho, however, happiness means one thing: better performance. Asked today about Anthony Martial, who isn’t necessarily in the first team but is in the goals, United’s boss responded:

I see a great improvement in the person. In his mood, in his face, in his body language. If you want one word: happiness. I am very pleased with his attitude overall, which means it’s easier [for him] to play well.

He's a happy guy, he's working extremely well. If he starts matches, he tries to do well and if he goes on from the bench, even if it is for just 10 minutes, he tries to enjoy it and to give something extra in his time on the pitch.

It would be easy to be cynical about Mourinho’s meaning here. To conclude that the great pragmatist is reducing happiness down to a question of productivity. Perhaps Mourinho, soulless monster that he is, is only capable of comprehending happiness as a state of being that leads to goals.

And it would be accurate. That’s how it goes now, Anthony. You radiate pure joy when the goals go in, and pure misery when they don’t, and that’s all your manager understands. Best of luck. Have a cigar.