Jose Mourinho’s sombre countenance on the touchline and failure to win the “hearts and minds” of his players since arriving at Manchester United could prove his downfall, believes a leading British sports psychologist.
The United manager has repeatedly criticised his team in public this season and the 53-year-old should think carefully about changing his approach, according to Steven Sylvester who works with Premier League players as well as world champions from other sports.
“It’s very strange. In my experience I haven’t seen him [Jose Mourinho] constantly criticise players in the media, this is a new style from him,” Sylvester, who is also psychologist to the cricket county championship winners Middlesex, said in an interview with Reuters.
“Although they must have done something to make him question if these players are at standard he wants, I think it is a way to mask his frustration that he can’t get the team delivering according to his mandate.
“The whole point of good leadership is to win the hearts and minds and if you criticise players in the press you’re going against that.
“The players will sit there in the dressing room thinking, ‘who’s next, what happens if this goes wrong today?’ It creates more fear within the culture than joy.”
Mourinho, who has made an underwhelming start at United, recently said his living arrangements in Manchester have been a “bit of a disaster”.
He painted a miserable picture of himself holed up in his hotel, alone without his family and unable to venture out to local restaurants because of the prospect of being hassled by fans and photographers.
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