How Jose Mourinho is losing the Manchester United dressing room...

It has been an awful week for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, but a 'source' has told Alex Netherton says it's not all the Portuguese manager's fault...

Jose Mourinho is on borrowed time at Manchester United. The complaints are coming in, and it all feels a little familiar. If it carries on in the same manner, then it surely cannot be long before he fails at yet another big club, and is left slumming it around clubs like Arsenal and Newcastle. The leaks have started to appear, with worries from players and insiders that he’s not going to be a popular man.

His abrasive attitude is a change from the days of the craven David Moyes and the unsettling Louis van Gaal. Luke Shaw was surprised to be criticised for a mistake on the pitch, and Ander Herrera is apparently still reeling from being admonished for scoring a goal by Van Gaal in the previous season. The players are outraged and hurt by the fact that they’re being targeted for their poor perforance - they are yet to come out of their shell after years under Van Gaal, Mourinho believes.

The question, then, is whether or not Mourinho can alter the toxic culture at the club before he alienates the majority of the squad, and to pull this off as he sells the deadwood and brings in his own kind of players. There are three main causes of concerns for the players at United, and we have the inside track on how Mourinho is trampling over their expectations.

Criticising the players for underperformance

The players are hugely nonplussed over this aspect of Mourinho’s management. Having been managed by both Van Gaal and Moyes, the majority of them are not used to being asked to attack the goal, or to try to win the game by scoring more than one goal.

Under Moyes, they would be terrified by Sunderland’s potent attacking force, and their preparation woulld be for that, not their own strengths. Under Van Gaal, they would be told that a full-back’s job was to pass back to his nearest central defender, not to attack the touchline and provide crosses for the strikers.

What has left the players shellshocked is that they simply cannot fathom that if they play badly, they are told that it is unacceptabe to play badly. Then, when Mourinho is asked whether the players underperformed by those in the press, he has the temerity to sometimes say, ‘Yes,’ if the players underperformed.

Those at Manchester United are now in mental disarray. Some of them have asked senior, recently retired professionals from the most successful era at Manchester United under Alex Ferguson, and have been competely confused by the suggestion that in order to avoid criticism for poor performance, they should endeavour to play better. This idea has been described by the current squad as, 'out of touch with the modern game.’

Being informed by Mourinho that they had lost to Watford

This is at the crux of the recent run of stories coming from the Old Trafford dressing room. Up until this point, players had enjoyed the stylings of their new, charismatic leader, but the vague sense of disquiet that had built up over the last few fixtures spilled out in the aftermath of the defeat at Vicarage Road. It’s true that Shaw was upset, and that the dressing down they received in public was a problem, but they were most outraged to be informed that they’d lost to Watford.

“They could not believe it,” a senior figure in the team told me. “They honestly did not understand what Mourinho was going on about. They pointed out that by no metric did they believe they’d lost the match. They brought up the Opta stats on their personalised iPads, and ran through all their successes. Each player had made more passes than their corresponding opponent.

They’d kept the ball for huge stretches of time, that gave them a far superior amount of possession. They’d not once risked losing possession in and around the penalty box. Instead, they’d carefully got the ball to Rooney, and waited for a goal to happen as it had, eventually, in the Van Gaal years.

"When Mourinho pointed out that Watford had scored three goals to United’s one, confused glances were exchanged. It was bizarre. Goals? What on earth was he talking about? It was at this point that he visibly lost the support of some of the matchday squad.”

Explaining to them that Breaking Bad was quite a bad programme

“This was the final straw for many of us. According to Mourinho, the first two series were fairly diverting, and the plotting was enjoyably tight for much of the first three or four of the series, but then it started to lose its way, he said. Fine, he agreed that Gus Frings was a cartoonishly brilliant antagonist for the series, but the final season, he felt, was scarcely credible. Obviously it’s a slightly ridiculous conceit, but it had been dealt acceptably within the bounds of realism for as long as the story could support it.

What, he asked, was the point of then filling the last episodes with coincidences, utterly unbelievable actions from crucial main characters, and then tossing it all away with what could only be described as 'The A Team where people actually end up getting killed’? A remote-controlled machine gun in the boot of a car? I mean for God’s sake. Daley Blind left the dressing room clutching his copy of Empire magazine in tears.”