Jose Mourinho Encourages Manchester United World Cup Stars to Cut Holidays Short

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 30, 2018

ANN ARBOR, MI - JULY 28:  Manager José Mourinho of Manchester United speaks with the media after a 4-1 loss to Liverpool during the International Champions Cup 2018 match at Michigan Stadium on July 28, 2018 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/International Champions Cup/Getty Images)
Rey Del Rio/International Champions Cup/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has called on Manchester United players enjoying their post-2018 FIFA World Cup holidays to cut short their vacation in order to help his stunted squad.

A number of the Red Devils' biggest names, such as Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard, are yet to join the squad for pre-season, and Mourinho sent a message to his absentee stars, per Reuters:

“I hope that the boys on deserved holidays take care of themselves a bit and that somebody wants to do what Rashford and Phil Jones decided to do, which is to be back a bit earlier to try to help the team because for the beginning of the season we are going to be in trouble."

Mourinho has been vocal during the club's pre-season tour of the United States about his dissatisfaction with the quality and quantity of first-team players at his disposal.

Alexis Sanchez was delayed in joining the tour due to a visa issue, and the United boss more recently bemoaned the lack of transfer activity to sign similarly talented stars this summer, via Sky Sports PL:

Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

"Poor Alexis is the only attacking player we have" Jose Mourinho has sympathy for Alexis Sanchez 📲 https://t.co/UMgI4Gs6Hq https://t.co/kC7l9cvP1w

New midfield signing Fred made his United debut in Sunday's 4-1 friendly defeat to Liverpool, although new right-back Diogo Dalot—the club's only other big arrival—has yet to make his bow after suffering an injury setback.

Nemanja Matic is the latest name added to United's list of injured absentees, which includes Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo. 

Less than a fortnight remains until United kick off their 2018-19 Premier League campaign against Leicester City. As things stand, it looks as though Pogba, Lingard, Lukaku, Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young and others who ventured deeper into the World Cup stages will still be getting back up to speed.

The Daily Mail's Dominic King reported the fractious relationship between Mourinho and United's executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, had reached "boiling point."

The manager has attracted scrutiny for his comments in the media, but Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News empathised with his plight:

Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst

Mourinho hasn’t helped himself with pessimistic rhetoric and he’s not striking a chord with fans. But he’s not getting the backing he needs, so isn’t going to be putting up the bunting while #mufc stand still.

Those who featured at the World Cup in Russia are entitled to a break following the tournament and could risk hampering their 2018-19 season without proper rest, but Mourinho has appealed to his stars' sense of fight.

United finished second in the Premier League last season but were 19 points adrift of bitter rivals Manchester City. After that humiliation, there is an argument that the call to arms should extend beyond normal parameters.

Blogger Liam Canning criticised Mourinho for his willingness to insult those players he has at his disposal, seemingly disregarding some as unlikely to have a major impact on first-team plans this term:

Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning

So transparent that José Mourinho is unhappy with the way Ed Woodward has conducted this transfer window. Obviously hasn’t signed the players he wants. But that doesn’t mean it’s OK for Mourinho to rubbish the players he has for pre-season. Really not a good look.

Time is ticking down to the Premier League season start date on August 10, but there's a chance his appeal could fall on deaf ears as disharmony appears to spread in Mourinho's United camp.