Jose Mourinho Says Media Criticism of Manchester United Style Is 'Unfair'

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2018

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25:  Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United tells the players to applaud the fans during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on February 25, 2018 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes some sections of the media have been "unfair" in their criticism of the Red Devils' style of play this season. 

United can move back into second place in the Premier League with a win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday, yet his side have been under the microscope at times this season because of some negative tactics.

Ahead of the showdown with the Eagles, Mourinho defended his side's style, saying United have played some slick football in recent outings, per Ben Rebuck of the Daily Mirror:

"We have very good matches and we have very good periods of matches. Sometimes the media are a bit unfair with all of us, with myself, with the players. We are better than you say. Against Chelsea, we had a very good second half. But it's a quality to know how to play against teams who at certain moments are better than you."

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09:  Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United celebrates scoring his sides second goal with Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Bet365 Stadiu
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

This season, only Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have netted more goals than Mourinho's team. United also boast the best defensive record in the division, having only conceded 20 goals this term.

However, as we can see below, runaway leaders City are blowing away the rest of the Premier League with their attacking incision:

While United supporters may look enviously at their rivals' attacking fluidity, the Red Devils have a results-first manager at the helm, as Bleacher Report's Rob Blanchette noted:

There is attacking quality in abundance at United, though. Romelu Lukaku has been a consistent source of goals up top, and he's been well-supported by Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard throughout the campaign.

Alexis Sanchez's arrival in the January transfer window gave Mourinho another world-class option in the final third, although the United boss is still formulating a way of getting the best from the Chile international.

Football writer Liam Canning believes there is room for Martial, Lukaku and Sanchez in the starting XI at Old Trafford:

Mourinho's issue this season has been mixing his penchant for structure with a number of players who are at their best when given licence to roam.

Sanchez had the freedom to influence matches with Arsenal, making him a force of nature in the final third. It could be argued Martial and Paul Pogba also require the shackles to be off if they are to be at their best.

Mourinho has so much attacking talent at his disposal.
Mourinho has so much attacking talent at his disposal.Steve Bardens/Getty Images

As writer Jonny Singer noted, these high-class attacking stars have occasionally been asked to curb their instincts:

Mourinho's management is a high-wire act. While he's a proven winner, often the route to silverware can be a grind.

The talent is there for Mourinho to play a more enterprising brand of football, and in certain matches this term, it could be argued a more attacking approach would have been the most pragmatic approach. However, after so many years at the summit of the coaching world, the Portuguese is unlikely to deviate from his approach.

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