Five players publicly criticised by Jose Mourinho – and how they responded

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Jose Mourinho is not afraid to criticise a player publicly if he feels it is needed – but he’s had mixed results doing so at Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid.

Mourinho has long used psychology as a way to inspire a reaction from his players – or put pressure on opponents. He even admitted it in 2014: “Everything I say and do are mind games. The only thing that is not mind games are the results.”

Here are five examples of him criticising one of his players publicly, along with what happened next.

Luke Shaw – April 2017

What Mourinho said: “I cannot compare the way he trains [with other contenders for the position], the way he commits, the focus, the ambition. He is a long way behind.”

What happened next: This was not the first or the last time Mourinho has criticised Shaw, but this was perhaps the most stinging.

If it was intended to provoke a reaction from the left-back, it does not seemed to have worked, and Shaw now seems certain to leave United this summer.

Eden Hazard – May 2014

What Mourinho said: “When the comments come from a player like Eden it’s normal because he’s not the kind of player to sacrifice himself for the team. Normally you get these kind of comments from players like him, from players that can’t resolve a problem like we had in the first goal.

“Eden is the kind of player that is not so mentally ready to look back to his left-back and to leave his life for him.”

What happened next: Mourinho’s first season back at Chelsea ended in disappointment, but the following campaign the Blues claimed the title, with Hazard winning the FWA Footballer of the Year and PFA Players’ Player of the Year awards. Let’s not mention the third season.

Pepe – May 2013

What Mourinho said: “Pepe has a problem. And his name is Raphael Varane.

“That’s the whole story. It isn’t easy for a man aged 31 with a lot of experience behind him to be blown out of the water by a kid of 19. It’s very simple. The problem is very simple. Pepe’s life has changed.”

What happened next: Mourinho’s time in charge of Real Madrid ended in acrimony, with the club’s senior players unhappy at the treatment of Iker Casillas. After labelling the 2012-13 season the “the worst of my career”, he left the Bernabeu, paving the way for his return to Stamford Bridge.

Ricardo Carvalho – August 2005

What Mourinho said: “Ricardo Carvalho seems to have problems understanding things, maybe he should have an IQ test, or go to a mental hospital or something.”

What happened next: Carvalho was unhappy at not being picked for the first match of the 2005-06 season but worked his way back into Mourinho’s good books and linked up with the manager for a third time at Real Madrid, having also served under him at Porto.

Joe Cole – October 2004

What Mourinho said: “When he scored the goal the game finished for him. After that I needed 11 players for my defensive organisation and I had just 10.”

What happened next: Cole had flattered to deceive at Chelsea until the arrival of Mourinho as manager. The attacker responded to the Portuguese’s tough love by establishing himself as a regular for both club and country, so much so we still really love him.

READ: ‘Full of fantasy’: How Joe Cole captured the hearts of West Ham and Chelsea


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