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Rio Ferdinand: Jose Mourinho is testing Manchester United players mentally, particularly Luke Shaw

by Harry Robinson

José Mourinho is moulding a Manchester United squad capable of winning titles by challenging players publicly, believes Rio Ferdinand.

The Man United great, now BT Sport pundit, spoke of Mourinho’s seemingly harsh treatment of young left-back Luke Shaw.

And Ferdinand was quick to support the choice of man management.

On BT Sport, the six-time Premier League winner said that “it looks like he [Mourinho] is testing them mentally.”

“Hit them with something, are you going to stay down or are you going to get up and fight? If you get up then he says yes, that’s the type of man I want in my team.

“As players, that’s what you want in your team. You don’t want players who will get one hit and shy away from things. One bad pass in a game, shy away from taking the ball again for the next 10/15 minutes.

“That’s not how you win titles. You need players who are going to be brave receiving the ball, not just physically and tackling, but mentally, and saying whatever happens here going forward, I will be with you guys shoulder to shoulder.”

Ferdinand was the embodiment of a winning mentality while at United. A leader on the pitch, he was vocal and a key part of a squad with one of the greatest desires for trophies ever seen at Old Trafford.

United in Ferdinand’s time won the lot, but after every title or cup, the squad looked for more, more challenges to conquer.

Mourinho is aiming to get back to that state of mind. United have been frail mentally under David Moyes and then under Louis van Gaal, failing to turn up in the big games on too many occasions, failing to kill games off.

That seems to be improving under Mourinho. His man management, in particular, has paid off, too.

Though it appeared harsh, his treatment of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and then Anthony Martial has resulted in the pair being two of United’s best players this season.

Shaw has received more criticism than most, but if he can show Mourinho the right attitude and performances, he knows he will be played, just like Martial and Mkhitaryan earned the right to play.

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