Manchester United players growing weary of Jose Mourinho

Things could be going better for Manchester United right about now. According to ESPN FC, the recent behaviour of embattled manager Jose Mourinho has left several senior members of the team frustrated. On Tuesday it was confirmed that Mourinho had stripped star midfielder Paul Pogba of his vice captaincy. It was just the latest action from the manager that annoyed Pogba and some of his teammates.

On Monday, Pogba publicly said that he believes United should play a more attacking style, which apparently rubbed Mourinho the wrong way. Mourinho informed Pogba of his decision to strip his vice-captain status the next day. Pogba did not play a role for United in the team’s shocking Carabao Cup ouster at home at the hands of Derby County on Tuesday.

After the match, Mourinho told the press that his team was “in trouble” when veteran central defenders Phil Jones and Eric Bailly were left to take penalties during the team’s penalty shootout in the aforementioned match. Those comments reportedly rubbed more players the wrong way and advanced the notion that Mourinho is taking an unnecessarily critical and harsh approach with his own players.

Do the new concerns regarding the relationship between Mourinho and his players spell trouble for the Red Devils’ hopes at competing for Premier League glory this season? A relatively rocky start has hurt United’s title odds, for sure. Mourinho’s side are down to +4000 to win the Premier League this season, which puts them well behind Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. You don’t need to be a soccer betting expert to know that the clock is ticking on the team’s title aspirations.

ESPN additionally reported that a source close to Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, said that Mourinho has lost the ability to relate to his players. Things have a way of going south whenever a manager has lost the ear of his own dressing room, and it sounds as though that is now the case at Old Trafford. ESPN also says that there are only a handful of players left in the squad that still fully support the manager.

However, the brass at Old Trafford is reportedly still behind the former Chelsea and Barcelona boss. Executive chairman Ed Woodward has told player representatives that he and the United board remain 100 percent committed to Mourinho, and that the 55-year-old will keep his job for the time being. The team’s brass is reportedly aware of the players’ concerns and criticisms, but the board is optimistic and hopeful that Mourinho will be able to rectify the situation and turn things around.

An ESPN source claims that Mourinho has privately picked fights with players and then “asking them to play for him.” The atmosphere between the players and the manager has reportedly been fraught since the team began pre-season preparations back in July. Mourinho subsequently made a number of critical comments during the team’s pre-season tour, even going so far as to calling out the team for its lack of transfer business during the summer window.

Because of Mourinho’s sour disposition and largely negative attitude, a number of players are reportedly set to start thinking about demanding moves to new teams next summer unless things around the club improve. Whether that means some players will only stay if Mourinho goes remains to be seen.

There were reports on Tuesday that claimed Pogba had put in a formal transfer request of his own, but ESPN says that the player has not officially made up his mind regarding his future with the club. Pogba has endured a tumultuous two-plus seasons back at Old Trafford since United made him the most expensive player in history a couple of years ago when purchasing his rights from Juventus.

Mourinho in particular has been harsh on Pogba, though the two appeared to be trending in the right direction as recently as last week when Mourinho praised Pogba’s ability to convert a penalty immediately after missing one during a Premier League match. Pogba subsequently said that he appreciated the vote of confidence from Mourinho. However, the relationship has clearly soured since.

Mourinho and Pogba were pictured in the midst of what appeared to be a tense exchange at the team’s training session on Wednesday. The World Cup champion has scored 4 goals in all competitions already this season after bagging just 6 goals all of last term.

United have gone 3-1-2 through their first 6 Premier League fixtures this season. The squad will be back in action on Saturday for a Premier League fixture against West Ham United. The Red Devils will then renew their Champions League pursuit on October 2 with a match against La Liga side Valencia before coming back to take on Newcastle United in the league on October 6. United picked up a 3-0 win over Young Boys in their first Champions League fixture of the new campaign earlier this month.