Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has criticised Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho after he publicly questioned the bravery of some of his players.
Mourinho stated after Sunday’s 3-1 win over Swansea City that he expected his squad to “put their bodies on the line” after he had been forced into naming a makeshift back four of Matteo Darmian, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young.
Although he did not directly criticise any individuals, the Portuguese had told MUTV before the match that Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw had informed him that they would not be available due to injury concerns.
Interim England boss Gareth Southgate defended both players this week, saying he left them out of his latest squad because he understood there was “obviously something wrong” with the pair.
And Taylor has now questioned Mourinho’s attitude, pointing to the recent accident involving jockey Freddy Tylicki as proof of the importance of caution when it comes to sporting injuries.
“I was disappointed by that because, knowing the individuals, they are both highly thought of,” he told Sky Sports News at the VSI Sporting Directors governance dinner.
“They’ve got personal problems which I don’t need to relay, but sometimes a manager needs to be a psychologist as well, and also to be a counsellor because you can’t treat everybody in the team [the same], every manager must know that. Every player in a team is different.
“I think that’s what management these days has to be. I’m not talking about being soft, I’m talking about being understanding because to even get to the top in football you have got to succeed as not so many actually make it in the game.
“Those that do make it have a great resolve and resilience. Those days are gone when we had no substitutes and you were on the wing with a broken leg and still trying to carry on.
“Surely we’ve come beyond that and that’s why it’s important if anyone has a head injury or possible concussion they have to come out of the game. We’ve seen in other sports – rugby and cricket and just recently horse racing, the tragedy of a very serious injury to a jockey who is now paralysed from the waist down.
“Sport is good and it brings people together but there is another side of it which can be quite dangerous and that’s why the people running the game have to be careful with health and safety, and psychological understanding.”
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