As he ventures into his third season as the manager of Manchester United without any meaningful achievement (by his lofty standards), Jose Mourinho is mostly busy trash talking other managers while criticizing his own players and board.
Like most big European clubs, Manchester United are on tour in the United States, and their 4-1 loss to Liverpool at a packed Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor provided Mourinho an opportunity, before and after the match, to show who is frustrating him at the moment.
Leading up to the rivalry match on friendly terms, Mourinho was busy talking about Liverpool and their transfer policy. He tried putting pressure on Jurgen Klopp by saying that after spending so much money in the transfer market on new players (Fabinho, Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri, Alisson Becker) it must be a season in which Liverpool win titles (No championship since 1990, no UCL title since 2005, no FA Cup since 2006).
By criticizing Liverpool and Klopp, he mostly pointed the arrows at his own board of directors. United have been quite dormant in the transfer market this offseason, only adding Fred of Shakhtar Donetsk as someone expected to be an immediate contributor next season. Diogo Dalot of Porto joined as a prospect for the future and Stoke’s Lee Grant joined the team as a veteran backup behind goal, but that’s it so far for United, and Mourinho isn’t happy.
He took out his frustration on his own young players. Before the match against Liverpool he said the clash will be ‘Liverpool first team vs Manchester United kids’, and after the match he said that almost everyone who played isn’t going to be in the squad this coming season. When asked on Alexis Sanchez’ mood, Mourinho said that his Chilean forward is unhappy because he doesn’t know any of the players on the American tour right now.
But he’s also sending his usual mix of passive aggressive message to senior players. One of them is Anthony Martial. The 22-year old Frenchman left the tour to be present during the birth of his son, which irked Mourinho. Another thing that irked Mourinho is a popular subject in recent weeks – Why isn’t he capable of bringing out the best of Paul Pogba, like Didier Deschamps has been able to for the national side?
Mourinho responded by suggesting it’s Pogba that’s to blame for not living up to expectations at Old Trafford. He didn’t blame him directly, only saying hinting that Pogba hasn’t given his everything for the club, like he does for country.
Quite a lot for preseason right? Remember, we still haven’t hit August. 3rd year Mourinho is the snarkiest Mourinho. Expect more to come.