Jose Mourinho has blasted Luke Shaw’s lack of focus and ambition, confirming it is highly unlikely the full-back will be involved in Manchester United’s clash with Everton on Tuesday.
The England left-back has played just twice for United since the end of November, with Mourinho periodically insisting he needs to see more from Shaw in order to give him a spot in his matchday squads. Even a string of recent injuries has not led to him gaining a recall, with Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind preferred.
And the Portuguese boss has again spoken of his dissatisfaction with Shaw’s work-rate in training, all but ruling him out of contention for the visit of Ronald Koeman’s side in a crucial Premier League fixture.
“It’s difficult for him to be on the bench because I cannot compare him with Ashley Young, with Darmian, with Blind,” the manager said in a pre-match press conference. “I cannot compare the way he trains, the way he commits, the focus, the ambition. I cannot compare. He is a long way behind.”
United have been hit by a number of absences of late, yet the only look-in Shaw has been given was his start against Bournemouth at the beginning of March. And that fixture was followed by claims that Mourinho was unhappy with the former Southampton defender’s exchange of pleasantries with Bournemouth players.
When challenged by one journalist that he was making some statement by leaving out an England international, Mourinho fired back: “Joe Hart is an England international and he is on loan in Italy.”
Besides Shaw, there will be other notable absentees against Everton. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are on the injury list and while there could be a return for Paul Pogba, Juan Mata could be out for the foreseeable future, according to Mourinho.
“I think a long time. I think Mata, Jones and Smalling for a long time," he said. "Pogba I cannot say is ready for Tuesday because I don’t know but Pogba is not such a long term injury as the others.”
There will be returns, though, for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera after suspension, although Mourinho is not convinced that the Swede’s comeback will automatically put things right after Saturday’s toothless 0-0 draw with West Brom.
“I don’t know. We had matches here with Zlatan that we drew. He lost a penalty in the game 2-1 [against Bournemouth], he lost chances like other people did too, so I cannot say now that if Zlatan and Mata played on Saturday we win the game, I cannot say that," Mourinho said.