Former Chelsea and Newcastle United striker Demba Ba has suggested that Jose Mourinho's coaching methods may have been too dated to have worked on his squad during his time at Manchester United.
The Portuguese chief, who is currently in charge of Italian giants Roma, was in the hot-seat at Old Trafford for two-and-a-half-years, leading the club to the UEFA Europa League, the League Cup, the FA Community Shield and a second-placed finish in the Premier League.
However, that was not enough to save him from being shown the exit door in December 2018 following a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield. At the time, United were sixth in the Premier League table and their top-four ambitions were fading fast, resulting in the United board relieving Mourinho of his duties.
But it wasn't just poor results in the final few months of his tenure that contributed to his sacking, it was also his relationships with some of his players, particularly with the likes of Luke Shaw, who has since proven Mourinho wrong on almost every level, and Paul Pogba.
For Ba, who worked under Mourinho at Chelsea during the 2013/14 season following the latter's return to Stamford Bridge for a second spell in charge, his downfall at United may have been down to his ways of motivating his players, hinting that his methods were not specifically correct for the players he had at Old Trafford at that time.
"He uses a lot of psychology on players, to see who are the strong characters," Ba told The Athletic. "One day he told us: 'If you have a confidence problem, thatâ€™s your problem'.
"I think the players he originally had â€“ Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack â€“ were tough guys. They responded well to that kind of management.
"The younger generation need more encouragement and support. Their self-esteem isnâ€™t built up as much.
"Theyâ€™re affected by social media and other things, they might not respond to pressure that well."
Although Mourinho has began life in Rome in positive fashion, winning nine of his first 11 games in all competitions, Ba, taking into account his recent spells at United and Tottenham Hotspur, believes it will not be too long before he starts to play mind games with his players.
Ba, who announced his retirement from football just last month, continued: "Jose is the kind of guy who throws a bomb into the dressing room and sees who comes out alive.
"At Chelsea, it was like, which mask is he going to put on today? Will he be the happy one, the sarcastic one, the sad one, the angry one?
"At a point, you donâ€™t mind anymore because you know, heâ€™s just playing with you. He plays the game very well."
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