Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho has hit out at critics over his side’s style of play again, insisting that he doesn’t know what more they want him to do.
United have scored 27 goals in 12 Premier League games so far this season, more than Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal, and so it’s not as if they don’t know how to attack and find the back of the net.
Those statistics are skewed by the fact that the Red Devils have scored heavily against ‘lesser’ sides, but the sentiment remains that they’ve scored a fair amount of goals.
It’s arguably the performances against the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Basel in recent weeks which has led to the criticism of Mourinho and the way he sets up his team, as Man Utd didn’t particularly look too desperate to attack in those games and they’ve scored more than two goals in just one of their last nine outings.
Further, it has been a far cry from the expansive style of play and attacking culture that was developed under Sir Alex Ferguson, with Mourinho taking a more pragmatic approach.
In turn, United fans have had to adjust since he took charge, but ultimately after winning three trophies in his first season at the helm, coupled with the strengthening of the squad to go on and compete for more silverware this season and beyond, there is surely a balance that will have to be reached.
However, Mourinho isn’t having it when it comes to continued criticism of his approach as he looked back at the line-up that he put out last weekend against Newcastle United and questioned the media as to how much more he can do.
“I don’t know who is more ambitious than us. We played against Newcastle with Pogba, Rashford, Martial, Mata and Lukaku,” he said, as reported by The Mirror.
“The full-backs are not full-backs, Valencia and Young are wingers, not full-backs. So I don’t know what you want.”
Taking that into consideration, it becomes a little more difficult to disagree with him, but that was against Newcastle, and it’s difficult to imagine him doing that against a direct rival where United have adopted a more defensive-minded approach.
Meanwhile, the Man Utd boss was asked about midfielder Marouane Fellaini’s future at Old Trafford, as the Belgian international will see his current contract expire at the end of the season.
With no public suggestion that he will imminently pen new terms, Mourinho has conceded he’s concerned over the situation, as when asked if he was worried, he responded: “Yes, I am,” as per Sky Sports.
“Nothing [I can do]. It is a discussion between the player and the board. I am not involved in contracts, in deals. And I respect both.”
The 30-year-old was a key figure for Mourinho last season, making 47 appearances in all competitions. In turn, as he continues that trend this year, losing him next summer will seemingly be a big blow as United will have to replace him as they’re not blessed with a huge amount of depth in midfield.
The injury suffered by Paul Pogba in September, which he has only just returned from, proved that as United were lacking a powerful, driving presence in midfield and that was arguably one of the factors in why they fell eight points adrift of Manchester City in the Premier League title race.
Mourinho does have Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick still in his squad while others can fill in, but that’s surely not enough to compete for multiple trophies over a whole season.
Carrick continues to edge closer to the end of his career, with injuries limiting him to just one appearance so far this season, while the other duo offer similar characteristics.
As noted by BBC pundit Danny Mills earlier this week, it could be made even worse for Mourinho if Fellaini leaves on a free transfer next summer and ends up at a rival like Arsenal who could certainly do with a player such as the Belgian given what he offers to the team.
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