Jose Mourinho noted following Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Real Madrid that he trusted the “majority” of his players ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
The remark comes in the middle of controversy surrounding Anthony Martial, who has not returned to the Man United squad after flying home for the birth of his second child last week.
Mourinho, for the first time on the tour, struck a notably positive tone when talking about the attitude of his players following an improved display against Real Madrid.
But that didn’t stop him from firing a subtle dig at certain players, noting he trusted only the “majority” of his squad.
“In a few days, we go to Munich and in 11 days, we start the Premier League and these are the players that we have, plus [Victor] Lindelof, that started training two days ago,” he said.
“Plus Marcus Rashford, [Phil] Jones and [Romelu] Lukaku because they gave to the group and to the team three days of their holiday, so they’re coming back three days early to try and be available for the team.
“With the fantastic spirit we have in the majority of the players, I repeat in the majority of the players we have a fantastic spirit. we go with everything we have into the Premier League.”
Some may say this is a direct attack on Martial, whose refusal to return to United’s camp stinks of a player looking for the exit door.
But it may be an invitation of sorts to his players. Every member of the squad will want to be part of this majority, the main body of players Mourinho values and protects, rather than the subsection of ostracised, doomed fringe players of which Martial is the latest.