Manchester United could do with less of Jose Mourinho's negative attitude
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Jose Mourinho is heading for the Sunshine State with Manchester United, but it might be time to be prepare for rain and storms when he arrives in Miami ahead of Tuesday's friendly against Real Madrid.
Nothing, it seems, can lighten the United manager's mood right now, and after his team suffered a 4-1 International Champions Cup defeat against Liverpool in Ann Arbor, Florida might want to brace itself for Hurricane Jose later this week.
He has cut an unhappy figure throughout United's two-week trip to the U.S., finding fault with an array of issues since arriving in California earlier this month.
And in Ann Arbor, he complained once again about the strength and depth of his tour squad and the lack of summer signings, the standard of the officials -- "baseball referees," Mourinho claimed -- and even questioned why more than 101,000 fans bothered to pay to watch this game between English football's two biggest clubs.
Mourinho is finding fault with everything but accepting responsibility for none of it, and it is beginning to wear thin.
Having been in charge for two years now, to suggest after this game that he learned nothing from it does not bode well for the young players in his squad who are attempting to persuade Mourinho they can have a future at Old Trafford during this tour.
Andreas Pereira, whose first-half free kick hauled United level following Sadio Mane's penalty opener, was impressive in midfield. Timothy Fosu-Mensah also suggested he could cover for the injured Antonio Valencia and Diogo Dalot at right-back.
Both players spent last season on loan at Valencia and Crystal Palace, respectively, but having said before the game that five of his starting lineup would be loaned out again, Mourinho's post-match comments suggested that neither even had a chance of persuading him that they can be valuable members of his squad this year.
Where Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, used his post-match news conference to praise the likes of Sheyi Ojo and Ben Woodburn as youngsters with a promising future, Mourinho could find nothing positive to say about United's emerging players.
"This is not our team, not our squad," he said. "We start the game with almost half of the players who aren't going to belong to our squad. This is not our squad. This is not even 30 percent of my squad, so don't look to this that way.
"In relation to today, we have four or five players that are dead because they care for the club, for the team, they try to give everything, even risking themselves because they don't want to let all the kids play by themselves against Milan, Liverpool and Real Madrid.
"So what did this game give me? Nothing at all."
Eric Bailly, according to Mourinho, raised his hand to step in at the last minute to "avoid a kid playing" after Chris Smalling signalled a pre-match injury.
But even the Ivorian centre-half was given faint praise, and a substantial dose of negativity, when Mourinho was asked if he had shown leadership.
"I don't think he's a leader," Mourinho said. "I don't think anything goes to change with that.
"But I think he's a team boy, a great boy, and an honest man -- honest to put everything for the team, and that is why we still have him and why he is going to stay with us, because football teams need people like him."
United have now played four games in the States and won only one of them -- on penalties against AC Milan. This Liverpool defeat will do little to boost confidence, especially with European champions Real next up in Miami.
In mitigation, Mourinho is without a host of first-team players because of their World Cup commitments. Nemanja Matic, who returned to the squad last week, is now set to miss the start of the season after undergoing surgery in Philadelphia for an unspecified injury.
Mourinho wants more new arrivals to add to the three -- Fred, Dalot and goalkeeper Lee Grant -- that have signed so far, but guess what? He doesn't hold much hope that he will get what he wants.
"I would like to have two more players," Mourinho said. "I think I am not going to have two.
"I think it's possible I am going to have one. I gave a list to my club, five names, a few months ago, and I wait to see if it's possible to have one of these players.
"If it's possible, it's possible. If it's not, we keep fighting and working and believing in the players that we have."
Believing in the players he has is proving to be a problem, however, because few of them have escaped Mourinho's criticism. All they hear is the manager's negativity and complaints, and they, and the club and its supporters, need something more positive.
A bit of sunshine, maybe.