15 players who publicly hit back at Jose Mourinho: Shaw, Ramos, Pogba…

Quick Reads

Throughout his illustrious managerial career, Jose Mourinho has never been afraid to speak his mind and criticise players that are on his own team. 

But this management style has often led to problems in the dressing room, leading to sackings at Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham in recent years.

We’ve taken a look at 15 players that publicly hit back at Mourinho after being criticised by the manager.

Luke Shaw

“Clearly I am in his head a lot and he clearly thinks about me a lot,” Shaw said in June 2021. “There is no hiding that we didn’t get on.

“I think he was a brilliant manager but, you know, the past is the past. It is time to move on. I am trying to move on but, obviously, he can’t.

“He continuously talks about me, which I find quite strange. Even some of the lads have said ‘what’s his problem?’ and ‘why does he keep talking?’ He just needs to move on.”

Danny Rose

“I do feel I wasn’t given as much of a chance as everybody else in the backline. I did want to play for him,” Rose told BBC Radio 5 Live in February 2020.

“I knew after a month [of Mourinho joining] I was never going to play. It was difficult going out to train knowing I wasn’t going to play.”

Paul Pogba

“What I have now with Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer) is different because he wouldn’t go against the players,” Pogba told Sky Sports in April 2021.

“Maybe Ole wouldn’t pick them, but it’s not like he puts them on the side like they don’t exist anymore. That’s the difference between Mourinho and Ole.”

READ: A timeline of Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho’s turbulent relationship

Alexis Sanchez

“I say things as they are and in my opinion. Mourinho is one of the best coaches in the world in the way that he coaches, how he studies videos, the way he goes about things,” Sanchez told BBC Sport in May 2020.

“But then, within the group there was that feeling that you were in the team then out. Sometimes I didn’t play, then I did, then I didn’t and as a player you lose confidence, each player lost their confidence, do you understand?

“And then an atmosphere was created that wasn’t healthy. Sometimes I’m playing well and I score a goal and he took me off. And I’d say, ‘I love football, I love football.’ I’ve played football since I was five and if I have the ball taken away from me, it’s as if I lose my joy. I’m like that.”

Anthony Martial

“It’s true that I’d have preferred it if he’d told me directly, there’s no need to say it in front of everybody,” Martial told RMC Sport in February 2020. “After that, you definitely want to prove him wrong.

“He didn’t start me during the first few games and each time I came on, I scored. In the end, he told me “you see, now you understand what I wanted.

“It can get to you. You just want to show him you deserve to be on the pitch.”

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

“Yes, I could say yes,” Mkhitaryan said in March 2020 when asked if Mourinho is a difficult manager to play under. “He’s a winner by nature. He wants you to win and you do what he asks you.

“It’s difficult for anyone. There have been differences and conflicts, but they have not had a strong impact on good work and the three trophies won.”

READ: What Smalling, Pedro, Santon and Mkhitaryan have said about Mourinho

Eden Hazard

“The last season under Mourinho was not pleasant anymore, we didn’t win, we got into a sort of routine, training-training without having fun, it was better for all parties that the collaboration came to an end,” Hazard told HLN in October 2018.

Juan Mata

“For better or for worse, we had no relationship, there was no dialogue,” Mata told El Pais when asked about Mourinho in October 2014.

“I was not happy, but always gave the most and respected my colleagues. You never know what will happen in life.”

David Luiz

“If he [Mourinho] would be saying that he would miss me, then he would actually contradict himself,” Luiz said after joining PSG in 2014.

“If the coach is saying that he was not going to miss me, it means that other results are not good. I think this is normal. Now I am listening to my new coach, to Laurent Blanc, and not my former coach.

“Now what is really important for me are the words and instructions of Laurent Blanc because Mourinho at Chelsea belongs to the past.”

Samuel Eto’o

“Thanks for informing me that it will be my last World Cup,” Eto’o told africanfootball.com in 2014. “Today, I am 33 years old. And it is not because a fool called me an old man that you must believe it.

“And you may have noticed that the old man was better than the youngsters.”

Kevin de Bruyne

“Jose called me into his office in December [2013], and it was probably the second big life-changing moment for me,” De Bruyne told the Players’ Tribune in April 2019. “He had some papers in front of him, and he said, ‘One assist. Zero goals. 10 recoveries.’

“It took me a minute to understand what he was doing. Then he started reading the stats of the other attacking forwards – Willian, Oscar, Mata, Schurrle. And it’s like – five goals, 10 assists, whatever.

“Jose was just kind of waiting for me to say something, and finally I said, ‘But… some of these guys have played 15, 20 games. I’ve only played three. So it’s going to be different, no?’

“It was so strange. I was completely honest. I said, ‘I feel like the club doesn’t really want me here. I want to play football. I’d rather you sell me.'”

Iker Casillas

“He was brought in to compete with Barcelona and brought moments of great tension and that Madridismo that I mentioned that I don’t like came out, there was a limit that he went to with me that I didn’t want to go to,” Casillas told Universo Valdano channel Vamos in 2018.

“The third year wasn’t all good, although we won La Liga and it seems that there were many people whose relationship was shaken.

“It wasn’t good for him, nor for me nor for the club. I think if it happened all over again, I would have taken the bull by the horns and faced Mourinho.

“At that time, I opted to be quiet and I thought that was the way to honour the values of Real Madrid. Nobody has wanted to talk about Mourinho to this day and I think it is maybe better to let it be and let it go.”

READ: ‘We’re the best, f*ck you’: The story of Barca & Real’s four Clasicos in 18 days

Pepe

“There needs to be a little more respect to Iker, he’s well loved,” Pepe said following Mourinho’s negative public comments about Iker Casillas in 2013.

“What the coach said was not the most appropriate. Iker is a player who is part of Madrid. He’s an institution, both in this club and in Spain.”

Sergio Ramos

“Mourinho was just another coach I worked with in my football career and I have always learned from others, from when I was a youngster at Sevilla,” Ramos said in August 2017. “So I am very, very grateful but I don’t think Mourinho has changed my life in football at all.”

Ricardo Carvalho

“I want to know why I didn’t play,” Carvalho said after missing Chelsea’s game against Wigan in 2005. “How can I explain when I don’t understand it? Sincerely, I gave a lot of thought and time to myself but cannot find a valid explanation. It’s totally incomprehensible.

“I don’t understand why Mourinho said I have to wait for another opportunity to play this season. I don’t understand the reason he put me in a group including Robert Huth, Joe Cole and Tiago. The Premiership has begun and I will play many games, I have no doubt. It’s incomprehensible that I will become third choice.”


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