Neither Chris Smalling or Luke Shaw were part of the Man Utd matchday squad as they won 3-1 against Swansea on Sunday evening.
Before the game, Jose Mourinho told MUTV why both players were missing.
Smalling doesn’t feel that he can play 100% with his pain, Luke Shaw told me this morning that he was not in the condition to play so we had to build a defensive line.
As if to point out some shortcomings by Smalling and Shaw, Mourinho added that despite being injured, Daley Blind had made himself available to play and would be on the bench. Blind would finish the match as an unused substitute.
After the win, Mourinho was asked about his pre-match comments regarding Smalling and Shaw. His words (via The Guardian) were damning.
Jose Mourinho on Smalling and Shaw
In every sport – and I know because I have friends and they play at the highest level in other sports – how many times you play and you are not 100%. I have a friend that is a big tennis player, he tells me he remembers more the times he played with pain than the times he played without any pain. To compete, you have to go to the limits. It’s a cultural thing for some, and that’s not my culture.
There is a difference between the brave, who want to be there at any cost, and the ones for who a little pain can make a difference. If I were to speak with the many great football people of this team, they will say many times they played without being 100%. For the team you have to do anything, that is my way of seeing [things].
Of course, it is not just the players, it is the players and the people that surround the players. Yes, it takes time [to change], but with the help of people like Phil Jones, who was playing without having even trained, Ashley Young, Wayne Rooney, with these people it will not be an impossible mission but a possible mission.
Chris Smalling has made 11 appearances for Man Utd this season. Just five of those have been starts in the Premier League. Similarly, Shaw has made 10 appearances and had five starts in the league.
If they wish to increase those numbers this season, it sounds like the two require an attitude adjustment. Asked if they need to change if they want to play for him, the Man Utd manager responded in the affirmative.
Exactly. More than me, [for] Man United.