Gary Neville has a theory about Jose Mourinho's treatment of Luke Shaw 5 years ago

Gary Neville has a theory about Jose Mourinho's treatment of Luke Shaw

Jose Mourinho has several tricks up his sleeve so this would be nowhere near surprising.

A master of gamesmanship, we've seen Mourinho employ several strategies on the pitch when the time comes to see out games with a lead intact.


But the Manchester United manager is also notorious for the way that he treats his press conferences as means to manipulate his squad or frame a certain narrative in the media.

Mourinho recently came in for criticism for, yet again, publicly ridiculing left-back Luke Shaw following United's 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final victory over Brighton on Saturday night.

Shaw had a solid first half but failed to emerge after the break as he was replaced by Ashley Young for the second 45.


Mourinho explained how he'd "wanted to defend better" and accused his players of a "lack of personality, lack of class and lack of desire," when asked why he withdrew the young full-back at half-time.

United legend Gary Neville has a theory on why Mourinho has repeatedly singled Shaw out for criticism and he's suggested that it's got much less to do with the England international's performances and more to do with an attempt from Mourinho to deflect attention away from his side's shortcomings this season.

Neville has claimed that Mourinho has identified an easy target in Shaw and has decided to use him as a scapegoat on whom the media's attention can be cast.

"To be honest with you, I can't help feeling the whole Luke Shaw issue is a distraction from the critical aspect of the season," Neville wrote for Sky Sports.


"United spent a lot of money and the aspiration was to win the Premier League and go as far as they could in the Champions League and obviously neither have happened.

"The issue for me isn't the individuals - whether Shaw, Paul Pogba or Alexis Sanchez are underperforming - but that the team aren't very consistent, which over the course of Mourinho's career his teams have always been.

"If you look at the performances against Liverpool and then Sevilla, they were night and day, and this looks like a group of individuals rather than a group functioning as a team.


"What I would say about Shaw is that the talent and ability are there, but his job as a footballer is to be prepared to perform every day and do every single thing in his life well to be a United player."