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Mourinho calls out Shaw, Smalling for unwillingness to play with injuries

Manchester United Training and Press Conference

BRUGGE, BELGIUM - AUGUST 25: Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw of Manchester United warm up during the Manchester United training session held at Jan Breydel Stadium on August 25, 2015 in Brugge, Belgium. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

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Can anything make Jose Mourinho happy anymore?

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You’d have thought that following Manchester United’s 3-1 victory over Swansea City on Sunday — the Red Devils’ first win in five Premier League games — Mourinho would have been delighted to be back to winning ways and pleased with such a positive performance.

This is Jose Mourinho, though, so of course that wasn’t the case. Instead, Mourinho used his post-game interview to hammer defenders Luke Shaw — who’s only 14 months removed from a broken leg — and Chris Smalling, both of whom reported as unavailable due to injury ahead of kickoff on Sunday — quotes from the BBC:

“Smalling doesn’t feel that he can play 100 percent with his pain. Shaw told me this morning that he was not able to play. … For the team, you have to do anything.”

“There is a difference between the brave, who want to play at any cost, and the ones for whom a little pain can make a difference. If I were to speak with the many great football people of this team, they will say they played many times without being 100 percent. We have players on the pitch with problems. In every sport, how many times do you play and you’re not 100 percent?”

Again, Shaw is barely a year removed from a horrific injury that could have easily signaled the end of his playing career. It’s unlikely he will return to full fitness and strength until two years after the injury, if ever. After playing in the Europa League on Thursday, less than 72 hours prior, if Shaw doesn’t feel confident in his body holding up for the duration of another eight-mile jaunt, it’s in the best interest of both the player and the club to inform his manager.

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That United entered the season without a clear contingency plan should Shaw — once more, someone fresh off a career-altering injury — break down at any point before the end of the season, says more about Mourinho and his transfer committee than Shaw’s unwillingness to put his livelihood in unnecessary danger.

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