Shaw has not played for United since a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth at Old Trafford nearly a month ago. Even though Manchester United are hampered by injury and suspensions, Mourinho said there was no chance of the left-back even being named as a substitute on Tuesday night against Everton.
“It is difficult for him to be on the bench,” he argued. “I cannot compare him with Ashley Young, with Matteo Darmian, with Daley Blind. I cannot compare the way he trains, the way he commits, the focus, the ambition. I cannot compare. He is a long way behind.”
Reminded that Shaw is an England international who was thought one of the country’s brightest defensive talents when he came to Old Trafford from Southampton, Mourinho retorted: “Joe Hart is an England international and is playing on loan in Italy.”
Shaw was not named on the Manchester United bench for Saturday’s goalless stalemate against West Bromwich Albion, which marked the eighth home draw of the season.
However, the 21-year-old did take part in a five-a-side session on the Old Trafford pitch after the match along with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ander Herrera, Wayne Rooney and three rivals for the full-back position, Darmian, Blind and Timothy Fosu-Mensah. Shaw was the last to leave the pitch.
Relations between Shaw and Mourinho first came under strain in the summer of 2014 when, as a 19-year-old, negotiations over a move from Southampton to Chelsea collapsed over Shaw’s wage demands. Although Shaw’s family are Chelsea supporters, Mourinho said that paying a teenager £130,000 a week would have ‘killed the club’. He signed Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid instead.
At the time, Mourinho said: “If we pay a 19-year-old boy what we are being asked for to sign Luke Shaw, we are dead. We would have killed our stability with financial fair play and killed the stability in the dressing room.
“We would have had players knocking on our door, saying: ‘How come I play 200 games for Chelsea, win this and that, and a 19-year-old comes here and gets more money?’”
Manchester United, then managed by Louis van Gaal, did think this was a price worth paying, along with a transfer fee of £27m. However, in September 2015, Shaw suffered a horrendous fracture of his fibula and tibia in a Champions League fixture in Eindhoven. It caused him to miss Euro 2016.
However, since Mourinho’s arrival at Old Trafford, Shaw has been a frequent target of his manager’s jibes. He has not played since the 1-1 draw with Bournemouth at the start of March.
Then, after a bitterly-contested fixture, Mourinho was said to be incensed by the sight of Shaw chatting to the Bournemouth players after the match. Shaw would have argued this was merely sportsmanship.
After the goalless draw with West Brom, Mourinho was withering about his forward line of Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, arguing they had shown no consistency.
However, with Juan Mata likely to miss the rest of the season with a groin injury, Mourinho warned that the return of the suspended Ibrahimovic against Everton would not necessarily be a panacea for a team struggling to win at home.
“We have had matches here with Zlatan that we drew,” he said. “He missed a penalty to win the game against Bournemouth. He missed chances like other people do. I cannot say that if Zlatan and Mata had played, we would have won (against West Brom).
“What I can say is that Jones and Smalling would not have played better than Bailly and Rojo did and that Pogba and Herrera would not have played better than Carrick and Fellaini. I can say that for sure.”