Unacceptable! Jose Mourinho insulting Manchester United legacy to cover his deficiency?

United pride themselves on a rich conveyor belt of academy products, dating way back to the class of 92 all the way up to the likes of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard. The Red Devils have named a home grown player in every single match day squad for the last 80 years. Last season no other academy came close to the 32,000 minutes United’s products racked up in the Premier League. Yet Mourinho appears on a mission to undermine the next generation in a bid to force the board into the transfer market.

The heavy loss to Liverpool was nothing compared to the comments of United’s manager as he decried the effectiveness of his younger players
Defeats in pre-season mean nothing. But Jose Mourinho took the setback in Ann Arbor on Saturday and ran with it. He saw it as a chance to strengthen his hand in his battle to coax a more robust transfer campaign out of his Old Trafford superiors. Most glaringly, he belittled the efforts of the many young players he has called up for United’s US tour. When given the opportunity to laud some of the talented class of youngsters coming through the club’s system he instead used them as cannon fodder in a bid to make a point.

He attacked the officials, the fans and, inevitably, Anthony Martial – but the most shocking abuse was reserved for the United academy players. Not only did Mourinho claim he ‘wouldn’t pay to watch’ his side, he also exploded about the support provided for Alexis Sanchez in attack. “Look, do you want him [Sanchez] to be very happy with the players he has around him? We are here just to survive and to have some not very ugly results. Alexis is the only striker we have. And the poor man is there trying his best.” Those players around the Chilean were, among others, promising youngsters Demetri Mitchell, Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira.

Pereira, McTominay and Mitchell may well be fringe players at best this season but they represent the culture of the club. Without them United lack identity – something Mourinho appears to be eroding away at season upon season. The free flowing attacking football so synonymous with the historic establishment has disappeared, and insulting their youth is another nail in the coffin. Mourinho has barely given the youngsters he brought with him on tour the opportunity to impress. Instead of handing extended minutes to the likes of Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong, Jimmy Garner, Ethan Hamilton, Mason Greenwood, Josh Bohui and Ro-Shaun Williams, the manager has instead asked those senior players who have made the trip to play the vast majority of games. Those seven young players have totalled two starts and 219 minutes between them on the tour so far, and in the two International Champions Cup fixtures against AC Milan and Liverpool have combined for just 47 minutes of action. By contrast, the senior members have been stretched too far.

If anything, Mourinho should be allowing the youngsters the chance to offer more support rather than blaming them for their inability to provide exactly that. He has referred to them as though they are a group of kids pulled off a Los Angeles street corner rather than some of the most promising young men currently coming through United’s system. But rather than revel in the opportunity to get a better look at what else he has available to him beyond his regular players, Mourinho has painted it as a huge inconvenience at a time when he’d much prefer to be surrounding himself with his chosen few. He even asserted that “it was not fair for Alexis, Mata and Herrera” to be playing with a bunch of kids.

When Mourinho has a point to prove and difficulties to overcome he will seemingly find whoever and whatever he can to blame for the malaise. Even young players are not off limits, and using them more as a political tool in press conferences than he does as capable, trustworthy footballers out on the field is just not on.

Mourinho is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.