Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has publicly criticised Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford for their 'lack of character'.
The 55-year-old boss is preparing his squad for a crucial Premier League showdown with Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday, which marks their first game back after the international break.
The Red Devils succumbed to their fourth defeat of the season against Manchester City last time out , which left them floundering 12 points behind their rivals in the table, way down in eighth place.
Ahead of their latest league fixture Mourinho has voiced his concerns about four key members of his current squad, who he believes are squandering their vast potential.
“They are lacking maturity," the Portuguese tactician told Univision . "I wasn’t a player, obviously, but when I say maturity I mean on a personal level.
“We had more men, we were more mature, we were more prepared for life, we were less protected.
"In English they call it ‘spoilt’, ‘spoilt kids’. Our kids are more spoilt than we were by our parents. We are more mature, we are better prepared. For young people now, it’s a different life on a social level compared to ours.
“The people who surround the players, who protect them too much, who give them - in my opinion - too much care, too many excuses. There’s always an excuse for everything.
“Luke Shaw, who is the left-back of the national team, who arrived there [at United] two years before me. He didn’t know how to compete. He had great potential, yes, but he didn’t know how to compete
“We’re talking about Luke Shaw, Martial, Lingard, Rashford – young, big potential.
“But at the end of the day it results in the word I cannot say [cojones], but you use it a lot here… character, personality, they lack a little that natural aggression”
Shaw is unavailable for selection this weekend through suspension, after picking up five yellow cards already this term, while Martial and Rashford face late fitness tests after sustaining knocks while on international duty.
After Saturday's match, Mourinho must pick his players back up quickly for another home game three days later, as they host Young Boys in the Champions League.