Manchester United players reportedly feel that Jose Mourinho's rebukes carry a nastier edge than those of Sir Alex Ferguson. The outspoken manager has publicly criticised his players following three consecutive defeats and his approach has apparently been poorly received in the Old Trafford dressing room.

United players fear that Mourinho's public dressing downs are damaging confidence levels in the squad, according to the Daily Telegraph. The United players are also said to be shocked by his decision to criticise individual players, such as Luke Shaw, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard.

Mourinho recently blasted Shaw for his failings in United's 3-1 defeat to Watford on Sunday (18 September), while he previously criticised the performances of Mkhitaryan and Lingard in the Manchester derby. Although the United squad acknowledge that considerable improvements are needed, they reportedly fear that Mourinho's attitude towards his players is hindering, not helping, that process.

Shaw, 21, was criticised by Louis van Gaal during his spell in charge of United, which prompted a number of senior players to warn the then-manager that he risked undermining the fullback's confidence.

The United hierarchy, on the other hand, have no qualms with Mourinho's attitude and reportedly see strong similarities between the Premier League-winning boss and Sir Alex, who led United through the most successful era in the club's history.

In sharp contrast to Sir Alex, however, Mourinho has been quick to turn the spotlight on the United players in light of their three consecutive defeats to Manchester City, Feyenoord and Watford. Mourinho's abrupt exit from Chelsea last season was preceded by public criticism of some of the Blues squad and while the situation has not reached that stage at Old Trafford, he is now facing an early crisis in his reign, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Meanwhile, United captain Wayne Rooney is understood to feel under immense pressure after a lacklustre start to the new campaign. Rooney, 30, produced another sub-par performance during United's defeat to Watford, which prompted severe criticism from fans on social media.