More mind games, or real talk from Jose Mourinho?
Jose Mourinho has admitted that he has been forced to play individuals who 'do not know how to play in defense' at the back at times this season, appearing to hit out once again at Manchester United's transfer business last summer.
Mourinho started midfielders Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay alongside Phil Jones against Southampton on Saturday evening, having spent the summer lobbying the club to bring in at least one more body in the center of defense.
United have the worst defensive record outside of the bottom five this season, with a nominal first-choice pairing of Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof both currently out with injuries.
Speaking to Brazilian broadcaster RedeTV (via The Telegraph), Mourinho said: “In the absence of more central defenders to play, we had to occupy that area with players who are midfielders, who do not know how to play in defense, who have no characteristics to play in the defense, but who occupied that area in a zonal way, tried to hide the weaknesses that everyone knew we had."
Mourinho's pessimistic words appear a transparent plea to the club's board to secure January reinforcements, with the transfer window less than a month away, and he doubled down on his performative glumness, adding: “[We will] try to win as many points as possible and try [to achieve] almost the miracle of finishing fourth.
"Until last year I said that finishing second was a fantastic thing because of the qualities we had in comparison to the quality of the other teams that are fighting for the top four. And this year with more problems that we have had, it proves what I said at the beginning of the season, that it would be a very difficult season.”