Ashley Young told Manchester United teammates to “show some pride and fight for each other” at half time during their 3-2 win over Manchester City.
Jose Mourinho‘s men, on a day where Man City would have won the Premier League with victory over their neighbours, fell apart in the first half and went in at half time two goals down.
But they fought back remarkably in a rapturous second half display, with Paul Pogba, who claimed two goals, leading a famous comeback to spoil City’s party.
And according to the Times‘ Paul Hirst, Young was one of the players who rallied the team in the dressing room at half time, pointing out how City were embarrassing them.
“The City fans are shouting ‘Olé’ and they’re embarrassing us,” he said. “Are we going to stand for that? Remember your responsibilities to the fans and the badge. Show some pride and fight for each other.”
Supporters have often wondered this season why Young, on a tactical level, pulls rank over Luke Shaw – a quicker, more dynamic left-back capable of creating greater space for whoever sits ahead of him at left wing – but this anecdote sheds light on an important reason why Mourinho likes the 32-year-old so much.
This is a man who truly understands the club, who was present at a time when Sir Alex Ferguson set the high standards that made United such a force, making him an important voice in the dressing room. Question his ability as a footballer, sure, but there aren’t many players in this current side with such an acute understanding – a natural kind of nous – for these big, pressurised occasions.