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Mou's MAD! Why Lingard, Rashford & Martial face their MK Dons moment

COMMENT: Jose Mourinho. He's had his moments this season. But as far as rants go, his tirade after the West Brom stalemate was the most significant of his Manchester United career.

This was Mourinho's stadium:mk moment. But unlike those jettisoned by Louis van Gaal after the League Cup humiliation at MK Dons, this lot can't say they weren't warned.

Mourinho doesn't say anything without reason. Without a motive behind it. Pull apart what was stated in the aftermath of Saturday's bore draw and we'll still be discussing it going into next week. There was just so much there.

So, first the positives: Michael Carrick can expect a call from Ed Woodward about a deal for next season. Ashley Young also...

"... today for 90 minutes (Antonio) Valencia was consistent, Ashley Young was consistent, Marcos Rojo was consistent, (Eric) Bailly was consistent, (Marouane) Fellaini was consistent, (Michael) Carrick was consistent," said the manager.

"And the other ones were not consistent."

The "other ones"? Well, that was namely Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. And while Carrick can expect to be tabled new terms, Lingard, for all the chat this past week about his contract, must know he's skating on thin ice.

The failure to get onto Mourinho's "consistent" list was one thing, but it's what he said about those he refused to name which really should have hit them - and those close to them - between the eyes.

Continued Mou: "In some others clubs, in some teams where you play for top 10, you play a player with talent is always welcome even if that talent is not consistent.

"Even if that talent is one day, yes, one day, no - in these teams at this level, you need to be consistent."

Jose's thrown down the gauntlet. He's basically told those four, 'you're mid-table players - at best. For what you're producing, you don't deserve to be here'. As far as wake-up calls, this was ice water straight to the face. Mkhitaryan, you suspect, will be fine. But if Martial, Lingard and Rashford can't shake off their lethargy after this blast, Mourinho is sure to wonder if they ever will. But wait there's more...

"... you see always the same people, always the same guys - always the same guys in front of the train pulling the train, so it's disappointing because it's one more draw," scolded the Special One.

This is Mourinho warning those on the fringes that doing just enough is no longer acceptable. If United are to get back to where they believe they belong, they'll need a squad of winners. Of genuine first team game-breakers. Think Ji-sung Park, Nicky Butt and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Mourinho has absolutely laid it on the line. You either prove to me you belong, or I'll find someone else who can.

This is Mourinho at his best. His most ruthless. Those close to Martial and Rashford, who believe there's no way he'd dump such potential, need only consider Luke Shaw's situation. Or better yet, Iker Casillas at Real Madrid.

Barely hours before the Baggies result, the Porto goalkeeper was featured across the European press, revisiting his axing by Mourinho while they were together at Real Madrid. For all the wailing, Mourinho will claim he was proved right as Casillas never fully won over his successor, Carlo Ancelotti. But the lesson for Rashford and Martial is clear: the manager doesn't care about pundits, scribes or commentators, if you can't help him get to where he wants to go, you're out.

And it's not personal. Again, just consider those he namechecked - particularly Marcos Rojo. Mourinho wanted the Argentine bounced out last summer. Jorge Mendes had a deal in place with a Chinese Super League club. It was all set up. But Rojo dug in his heels and refused to budge.

Rather than ignore the centre-half, before Christmas Mourinho called on Rojo when needed. And today, he's one of the first on the manager's team sheet.

This isn't about personalities. It's about football and whether those currently pulling on a United shirt are capable of helping Mourinho get the club back to where he believes it belongs.

From that disastrous Cup tie back in August 2014, only David De Gea survived from Van Gaal's starting XI. The backlash was swift - and silent. The likes of Michael Keane, Shinji Kagawa and Chicharito never saw it coming.

But for this current crop, Mourinho has left no-one in doubt. For Rashford, Lingard and Martial, they can't say they weren't warned.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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