Whether it sits morally right with you or not, Jose Mourinho has made his issues with left back Luke Shaw very public and for all to see.
Jose has not pulled any punches when it comes to criticising Shaw. Often complaining about his “lack of effort”, something about Luke clearly doesn’t sit right with Jose, it was even stated that Shaw was behind Matteo Darmian in the team pecking order.
After previously been criticised early on in the season, it seemed that the two had possibly put things aside despite the fact that Shaw wasn’t starting, but things have recently reignited.
But does the problem stick with Luke Shaw? No. I believe that there is more to it than that. Manchester United have not pulled up their socks this season in general, and despite being unbeaten in the Premier League since October (at this point in time) United have been failing to rack up the points which has clearly frustrated Mourinho.
Considering that Shaw signed with United back in 2014 for £30 million, many questions started surfacing as to why he wasn’t playing and I believe that Luke Shaw is a prime example of what Manchester United have been as an entirety this season, expensive yet not putting in enough work.
We can argue whether or not Shaw has been putting in a good enough shift but we don’t see a lot of what goes on in training and behind the scenes at United, so it would be unfair to make a judgement purely based on that.
So, if you look at Shaw’s on pitch record since his painful double leg break back in 2015 has appeared little over 10 times with nothing particularly concrete to take away from it, and that is part of what is frustrating to United fans and Jose Mourinho alike.
This can easily be linked in similarity to United’s overall performances, despite being given chances, not delivering. I can see what Jose is trying to do, with most of the bigger players such as Ibrahimovic, De Gea and Mata consistently delivering, the background players have to take more responsibility and it seems that Shaw epitomises the lack of effort from those players?
Is Mourinho going too harsh on Shaw? The general consensus between many United fans (myself included) is that in part, yes he has. The issue of his “lack of effort” didn’t need to become a public matter, as it will of course knock the confidence of Shaw which could cause a domino effect with other players constantly looking over their shoulders.
The latter would make sense as when you watch United’s more recent matches, each player seems more panicky and less accurate when passing the ball.
Things do seem to be picking up though, Jose recently praised Shaw for his performance against Sunderland after a 3-0 victory. Saying to Sky Sports “It was a very solid performance.” and that Shaw “Was confident on the ball.” So whatever happens, it appears that the Shaw/Mourinho problem may be heading into the right direction.
By James Babington
Follow me: @BabingtonJames