Jose Mourinho has a history with ball boys. He once yelled at a Crystal Palace ball boy, finger-wag and all, for slowing down play and warned the kid a player might punch him. He also memorably called the Leicester ball boys a “disgrace for the Premier League” after a loss.
But every advantage counts, and the Manchester United manager is apparently worried his ball boys have lacked the impact of the ones he complained about in the past.
Mourinho has ousted Manchester United’s existing batch of ball boys and girls in favor of players from academy teams, according according to reports in England. The club typically brought in ball kids from the Manchester United Foundation, but Mourinho reportedly wanted academy kids who will know when to waste time to run out the clock or speed up play.
It can be difficult to sort out which reports out of England are to be trusted, of course, but they’re certainly believable given Mourinho’s past with ball kids and his history of pettiness about such small details. Whether he is throwing shade at other coaches for no reason or blaming a team doctor when he loses, Mourinho has no problem being rude. Case in point:
Mourinho also likes to do things his own way, which on more than one occasion has involved having his players train in parking lots.
Are ball kids really going to be the difference between winning and losing? No, probably not. But whatever Mou wants, Mou gets.