Jose Mourinho Encourages Manchester United World Cup Stars to Cut Holidays ShortJuly 30, 2018
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:
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:
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:
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.