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14th Dec 2016

Jose Mourinho is getting praised for doing what any sensible manager would do

Stands to logic, surely

Patrick McCarry

Manchester United’s players should have known what to expect when Jose Mourinho was named as their new manager.

This was a man that turned Joe Cole and Damien Duff into tricky attackers to lads that worked just as hard in defence as when they were driving forward. He did not get it right with Nemanja Matic first time around but had him convinced he was world-class as Chelsea sauntered to the 2014/15 league title.

He turned Marco Materazzi into a defensive beast as Inter won the Champions League, for God’s sake.

Bayern Muenchen v Inter Milan - UEFA Champions League Final

It was always going to be interesting to see who made the grade at Mourinho’s Manchester United. Many would have tipped Morgan Schneiderlin and Chris Smalling as two players to benefit from the Portguese’ arrival. He could even revive the flagging Wayne Rooney, many argued.

Juan Mata and Memphis Depay… good luck.

Six months into his stint at United boss and the stand-out players have been Ander Herrera, Mata, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David De Gea [always De Gea!].

Henrikh Mkhitaryan tried to ease his way into it during the Manchester City defeat and wasn’t seen for weeks since. The Armenian had to battle his way back into the reckoning is is finally starting to deliver.

Mourinho has also been credited for the recent, no-nonsense form of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo [we’ll say nothing about that lunge against Everton].

The defenders’ return to the United starting XI arrived not long after Mourinho called out Smalling and Luke Shaw for not playing through the pain barrier.

Again, his tough stance earned praise.

And now, with the January transfer window looming, there is speculation that Schneiderlin and Memphis are on their way out.

Mourinho was asked about both men being linked to Everton transfers. He told reporters:

“I am always open to listen to offers for every player. More than listen to offers, I am always ready to listen to the players themselves. So, any player who knocks on my door and is not happy and wants to move, when the offers are correct, I will never stop from leaving, even if it is to a rival.”

Mourinho was playing this one smart. Players can stay and fight or they can leave, but only if they ask.

It is the sensible way to play it but Mourinho has been getting a lot of online praise for his stance.

Players like Memphis and Schneiderlin may complain that they are not getting a fair shake of it but, as Mourinho intimated, what have they done during their time on the pitch to make a convincing argument they should be starting?

If Jones and Rojo can plug away, get a chance and grasp that chance, why not them?