Matteo Darmian denied there was any rift between Jose Mourinho and his players following Manchester United’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal at Old Trafford.
The 55-year-old cryptically noted after the game that there were things he ‘could not get’ from his group of players.
Man United have now failed to win their last four Premier League games, leaving them eight points off the top four spots.
Speaking after the game, Darmian was quick to emphasise that the player-manager relationship in the Old Trafford dressing room was a healthy one.
“Between us [there are] no problems — between the manager and the players,” he said. “So we have to keep working. Try to work harder and try to do what we are doing to try to win as many games as possible.”
Top level players are of course top professionals too, and will not, as such, exact wholesale mutiny towards their manager, regardless of results or performances.
When you see United players lumbering around the pitch aimlessly, like they did against Southampton, the initial reaction of supporters is usually to criticise them for not playing for the badge, for not fully giving everything.
This inertia on the pitch, I think, stems not from lack of effort per se but more from a tacit rejection of what Mourinho brings to the table. You could describe it as ‘unhappy’ football.
Players may not be openly against Mourinho, but they are, no doubt, inwardly opposed to the Portuguese’s methods. That is a massive issue.