Jose Mourinho has enough problems to worry about without digging Luke Shaw out in public

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Jose Mourinho has enough problems to worry about without digging Luke Shaw out in public

Our man Robbie Savage believes that the Portuguese is using Shaw as a smokescreen for disappointing results

Jose Mourinho is playing a dangerous game by slaughtering one of his own players, Luke Shaw , in public.

With respect, he is now the manager of Manchester United , one of the biggest clubs in the world – miles bigger than Chelsea – and the fans aren’t easily fooled.

Shaw is a 21-year-old kid who suffered a terrible injury two years ago. Noticeably, Mourinho has not dug out £89 million Paul Pogba, the world’s most expensive player, although his performances overall have been disappointing.

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They can see Mourinho is digging out Shaw as a smokescreen for another disappointing result at Old Trafford this season – just six wins out of 16 home games in the Premier League.

There have been other occasions where he has diverted attention from dropped points at home, like his fractious interview with the BBC’s Conor McNamara last weekend after the goalless draw with West Brom.

Relations are stormy between Shaw and Mourinho (Photo: Getty)
And although his win percentage in all competitions (60) is significantly higher than predecessors Louis van Gaal (53) and David Moyes (51), and the football is much improved and more vibrant, the real story of United’s season under the Special One is of wastefulness.

Only Tottenham have averaged more shots per game than United. They have created the third-highest number of chances in the division, and only Manchester City’s pass completion rate (84.8 per cent) is fractionally better than United’s.

But United have converted only 12.5 per cent of their chances (Arsenal, surprisingly, have the best conversion rate at 20.8 per cent).

Video thumbnail, Phil Neville thinks Jose Mourinho is giving Luke Shaw his last chance
WATCH NEXTGareth Bale and Real Madrid train ahead of clash

PHIL NEVILLE THINKS JOSE MOURINHO IS GIVING LUKE SHAW HIS LAST CHANCE

Even Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has scored 27 goals this season, has missed his fair share of chances among the heroic displays among visiting goalkeepers at Old Trafford by the likes of Tom Heaton, Lee Grant and Joel Robles.

I notice Mourinho has not criticised Zlatan for spurning those chances – and United would be breathing down Chelsea’s necks at the top of the table if they had converted six of their nine draws at home into wins.

But his treatment of Shaw is baffling. I don’t understand what he hopes to achieve by telling the media that a £27 million left-back was not up to speed, and then sending him on as a substitute against Everton but claiming Shaw played “with his body but my brain.”

Is he attempting reverse psychology? Is it one rule for Shaw, but not for others? Does Mourinho think he has a licence to hang Shaw out to dry in public because he did not sign him?

I don’t know how Luke Shaw lives his life, or if there are any issues away from the pitch behind his manager’s comments, but he would be devastated by them.

I know, from personal experience, how much a manager’s public comments can damage your confidence.

I loved playing for Martin O’Neill at Leicester, and he was the best manager I worked with, but he humiliated me once by saying, after a man-of-the-match performance against Liverpool, that my game lacked only one thing – ability.

It might well have been tongue in cheek, but I felt embarrassed when I saw it, embarrassed when I drove into the training ground on the following Monday morning and embarrassed when I got hammered for it in the dressing room.

Video thumbnail, Jose Mourinho claims he would rather be unbeaten than have more points
WATCH NEXTGareth Bale and Real Madrid train ahead of clash

JOSE MOURINHO CLAIMS HE WOULD RATHER BE UNBEATEN THAN HAVE MORE POINTS  

I never lived it down, and I can only feel sympathy for Shaw. I don’t care if Mourinho is trying to make a point, or send him a coded message through the media: Digging out your players is wrong, especially at a worldwide institution like Manchester United.

Mourinho was left with egg on his face earlier this season when he told in-house TV channel MUTV that Chris Smalling “doesn’t feel that he can play 100 per cent without pain” – before it emerged the England defender had broken a toe in two places and was ruled out for a month.

And at other clubs in the past, he has called out individuals and it’s a dangerous game.

Surely he has bigger fish to fry, like making sure United are in the Champions League next season.

It looks as if they will have to win the Europa League to qualify now, and an extensive cast of players could be playing for their futures at Old Trafford on the run-in – I’m talking about Daley Blind, Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young, Anthony Martial, Matteo Darmian, Phil Jones, Marouane Fellaini and, possibly, Shaw.

Obviously there is a big question mark already about Wayne Rooney being at the club next season, and you also have to wonder how much longer the excellent Michael Carrick – who will be 36 in July – can stay in the starting XI.

I would remind you of that quirky stat I uncovered last autumn – that wherever Mourinho’s teams in the past have been in the table after 12 games is where they always finished the season.

United were sixth after 12 games – and they are sixth now. Instead of digging out Shaw, Mourinho should be worrying about how to buck that trend.

 

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