EPL 2016-17: Adam Lallana blasts Jose Mourinho on his treatment of Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling
Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana has blasted Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho over the public criticism of his players Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling. Though Mourinho has always been extremely vocal about his opinion on his players, this is something which hasn’t always gone down well with his players.
This time, Mourinho chose to single out Shaw and Smalling, after the duo failed to feature in United’s 3-1 victory over Swansea, before the international break.
Lallana jumped to the defence of his former Southampton teammate Shaw, by claiming that Shaw has proved how tough he is by recovering from a horrific double leg break last season. Lallana said “I was with Luke at Southampton. He’s a very strong boy. He’s had a horrific leg injury. You don’t come back from that without being mentally and physically strong. You don’t come back from a leg break like he had without having difficult times mentally on your own.”
Earlier, the Portuguese manager spoke of the “difference between the brave, who want to be there at any cost, and the ones for whom a little pain can make a difference”. Further, though Mourinho didn’t name and shame Shaw and Smalling direct, the reference was implied as both the England internationals were nursing injuries.
The injuries also ruled Shaw and Smalling out of England’s 3-0 win over Scotland on Saturday, as the duo were declared unfit by their club.
Moreover, Mourinho has drawn a lot of flak for his man management skills, in the wake of this latest incident, including the likes of PFA chief Gordon Taylor who asked Mourinho to show a bit more empathy towards his players.
What’s even more damaging is the fact that this incident has apparently caused a rift between Shaw, Smalling and their manager; so much so that reportedly Liverpool and Arsenal are ready to pounce at the first available opportunity to sign Shaw and Smalling respectively.
This news couldn’t have come at a worse time for United, with the club languishing in 6th place in the table, already 8 points behind current league leaders Liverpool, despite having made a promising start to the season.
Moreover, given how pivotal Shaw and Smalling have been to United in the past few seasons, United can ill afford to lose the pair of them. Thus, Mourinho must soon find a way to make amends between himself and his players; else he runs the risk of losing them, that too, to his direct rivals.