Date published: Wednesday 5th December 2018 7:23

Jose Mourinho has refused to condemn his side in the wake of suggestions from leading pundits that Manchester United stars might not be giving their all and were being “dishonest”.

The 2018-19 season has seen plenty of talk about the relationship between United players and Mourinho, and there was more after the Red Devils’ winless run in the Premier League extended to a third game with Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Southampton, with the Portuguese quick to dismiss claims he’d labelled Paul Pogba a “virus”.

Mourinho was asked ahead of Wednesday’s home clash with fourth-placed Arsenal, who United are eight points worse off than, if he still felt the players were all behind him.

The Portuguese said: “I still don’t understand that story. If you think a player only plays when he is, in your words, behind the manager, what I have to call these players or, in this case, what you are calling them, is dishonest.

“A football player is paid – and very well paid – to be a football professional. What is that? It is to train every day in his limits, to play every game in his limits, is to behave socially according to the nature of his job, is to respect the millions of fans around the world and to respect the hierarchies in the club.

“If a player doesn’t do that..one thing is perform well and perform not so well, another thing is to be a football professional.

“If you say that a player plays well or bad because of who the manager is, you are calling the player dishonest.

“I understand your question, but when pundits that were professional players say ‘this player is not playing for the manager’ – did they do that when they were players? Were they dishonest players? If they were they shouldn’t be in front of a camera speaking to millions of people.

“I disagree totally with that question. You have to analyse a player by ‘is he performing, yes or no?’ You shouldn’t go in that direction because you are calling the players dishonest.”

He added: “You believe a player scores in his own goal and then runs and celebrates ‘I scored in my own goal because I don’t like the manager’? Do you believe in that? I don’t believe in that.”

Mourinho used his press conference on Tuesday to deny claims that he’d suggested it would be a miracle if United finished in the top four.

 

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