Jose Mourinho is starting fires with Eden Hazard criticism 0

Make no mistake, Jose Mourinho knows exactly what he’s doing with his critique of Eden Hazard.  The Portuguese is trying to provoke a reaction from the Belgian and inspire him to become a more complete player than he already is.

“When the comments come from a player like Eden it’s normal because he’s not the kind of player to sacrifice himself for the team.

He’s not mentally ready to look to his left-back and leave his life for him.

Normally you get these kind of comments from players like him, from players that can’t resolve a problem like we had in the first goal.

If you see the first goal of Atletico you completely understand where the mistake was and why we conceded that goal.”


He’s right, too, because Hazard was undeniably the root cause of Atletico’s equaliser on Wednesday and his failure to track his man at the back-post was symptomatic of a player who doesn’t yet value the offensive and defensive parts of the game equally.

The trouble is, that the modern player typically doesn’t respond that well to having his ego pricked and it takes a special kind of personality to take - and benefit from - constructive criticism.  Hazard is a sensationally potent attacking force and has just received individual recognition from his peers with the Young Player of the Year award, the temptation for him to sneer and flounce in response to those remarks must be quite high.

Mourinho is smart and he’s one of the savviest manipulators in the game, but every now and then he misjudges a situation and creates needless disharmony.  This might be one of those times.

It shouldn’t be this way, because managers should be able to criticise players without the fear of repercussions, but that’s just not how football is anymore and this kind of comment is too often seen - ridiculously - as a form of ‘disrespect’.

Follow @premleagueowl

Latest article for Squawka: Why it’s time for Manchester United to sell Antonio Valencia