Jose Mourinho has declared his players must 'grow up' and 'learn how to cope' with the expectation and pressure of playing for Manchester United if they are to be successful in the seasons to come.
The Manchester United boss unleashed an incredible 12-minute rant on Friday which levelled criticism on the club's recent record in Europe following backlash for failing to progress into the quarter finals of the Champions League following defeat to Sevilla.
Mourinho's insistence that the club is undergoing a period of restructuring looked to explain the shock defeat at the hands of the Spanish outfit as he admitted the European defeat must be used as an example for his players of how best to deal with the burden of playing for the Red Devils in the future.
"They have to learn how to cope with that level of expectation and that level of pressure and they have to survive and when they survive they become stronger," Mourinho told Sky Sports.
"You know, easy life, and the fans not upset and no critics, that's not good. That's not good, because if you want to make a real top team with top mentality they need to grow up.
That Mourinho press conference. Remarkable. United/the Premier League is lucky to have me. Pep inherited great players. Many of United’s aren’t/haven’t been all that. United’s recent CL record hasn’t been great but my record is fantastic.— Darren Lewis (@MirrorDarren) March 16, 2018
"They need to grow up and the best way to grow up is to have this kind of feeling. So, I don't want the fans to have lower expectations, I want the fans to have high expectations because I want the players to have high expectations too."
The United boss was quick to acknowledge United have faltered this season whilst their local rivals have prospered due to their diligent long-term planning, a gap he admits will continue to grow if Manchester City continue to heavily invest in their squad.
He added: "If the clubs that are in a better situation than us, if they stop to invest, in everything and we do invest, I would say, we are side to side.
"But if they are in a better situation than us, and they keep investing the same or more than us, it's difficult. It's difficult. It's as simple as that. It's difficult. To develop a process is one thing, to go for the jugular is another thing."