Nemanja Matic believes Jose Mourinho's "special" aura is retained by his relentless will to win after a difficult week for the Manchester United manager.
Mourinho's side were dumped out of the Champions League last 16 by Sevilla on Tuesday, putting in a meek performance which led many to question the Portuguese's selection and tactics.
Things improved on Saturday as United advanced to the FA Cup semi-finals by seeing off Brighton and Hove Albion, but Mourinho was scathing in his assessment of that showing and accused his team of being "scared" to play.
Only Matic was singled out for praise, described as "an island of personality" against the Seagulls and the Serbian, having won the Premier League title with Mourinho at Chelsea, is only too aware of his exacting standards.
"He's special because he wants to win, always," Matic said. "You can see when we lose a game he cannot accept that. Probably that's why he won more than 20 trophies in his life.
"It's very difficult to work with him, because he always wants more and more.
"Even if you win the league, he wants to win again next season. He's like this and the players need to be ready for that. I like it when the manager always wants better and better, so you have to improve always, always do your best. I like this kind of work, this kind of relationship.
"At this high level at Manchester United, and where I used to play at Chelsea, the players need to be ready for that because the pressure is big.
"Everyone expects you to win every game. Obviously it's not possible, but supporters always expect. It doesn't matter if you're tired or not, supporters want high quality football. It's normal."
Mourinho has been critical of his players - with the likes of Luke Shaw in particular coming under fire - and Matic was hesitant to confirm that only those with a certain mental strength can flourish under the Portuguese.
"I think this is a question for him," he said. "I'm doing my best and I'm happy to work with him, I'm happy to be part of his team, this club. I think he respects what I'm doing every day, not only in the game, but in the training sessions and I'm happy for that and I'll continue like this."
United's sole hope of silverware this season comes in the form of the FA Cup, in which they will take on Tottenham in the last four for a chance to play Southampton or Chelsea in the final.
"In the Premier League you have six or seven teams who want to win the league, so it's not possible to always win," added Matic, with Manchester City enjoying a 16-point lead in England's top flight.
"But if we win the FA Cup it's good, but not perfect. You have four competitions in the season - if you win one, for me, it's not enough, but you always have to do your best.
"In the Premier League, when you're in the first four, it's not perfect, but it's good to play for the Champions League next season. If you win the FA Cup, I cannot say it's a successful season, but it's a good season."
|Mickelson leads Desert Classic, ties career-low with 12-under 60|
|Warriors´ Durant on Curry: He´s a once-in-a-generation, once-in-a-lifetime talent|
|Patriots owner says Brady is greatest player, not just quarterback, of all time|
|Inglis to retire from representative duty this year, NRL in 2020|
|Is Beal better without Wall? Wizards star says it´s ´absolutely nonsense´|
|Rockets C Capela undergoes thumb surgery, expected back after All-Star break|
|This Week in U.S. Sports: Irving apologises, Machado´s agent isn´t happy|
|Knicks in woeful shape, but 2019 could still be bright in New York|
|Valverde not worried about Levante´s Copa appeal|
|Nowell an option for England at flanker, reveals Jones|
|Pellegrini: Arnautovic available for the right price|
|Knicks throw away 19-point lead and lose on last-second goaltending call|
|Tebow invited back to Mets´ major league spring training|
|Canelo and Jacobs agree unification fight|
|Barcelona 3 Levante 0 (4-2 agg): Dembele at the double as Barca advance|
|Levante to lodge complaint over Barcelona Copa selection|
|Kanter´s London absence ´very unfortunate´, says NBA commissioner|
|NBA could swap London for Paris in 2020|
|Spurs coach Popovich uncertain if he will return next season|
|Pistons´ Griffin fined for verbal abuse of official|
|Everton do not have financial conditions to enter transfer market - Silva|
|Andy Cole joins Sol Campbell´s coaching staff at Macclesfield|
|Atletico confirm Saul has thigh injury|
|Wood replaces injured Stone in England squad|
|Lebanon 4 North Korea 1: Disciplinary record cruelly denies Radulovic´s men|
|Saudi Arabia 0 Qatar 2: In-form Ali bags brace as Qatar top group|
|Robertson signs new Liverpool deal|
|Vunipola backs Farrell to thrive in solo leadership role|
|People don´t know what´s going on behind the scenes - Mourinho defends United stint|
|Indefatigable Muguruza knocks out Konta at 3:12am|
|Serena coasts, difficulties for Halep and Muguruza´s marathon|
|Lowry retains Abu Dhabi lead|
|Djokovic battles past Tsonga, young guns flourish|
|Louisville airport to be renamed in Muhammad Ali´s honour|
|Emery not thinking about Ozil speculation|
|Sri Lanka hopeful over Kusal Mendis finger injury|
|Oman 3 Turkmenistan 1: Last-gasp Al-Musallami guarantees progression|
|Emery wants Cech to end career ´in a good moment´|
|Japan 2 Uzbekistan 1: Shiotani stunner seals comeback and top spot|
|Calhanoglu deal ´financially impossible´ for Leipzig|
|Not seen at Aus Open since Nadal, Djokovic and Murray in 2009 – ´Next Gen´ make move|
|Martial: Solskjaer lets me express myself|
|Djokovic sees off Tsonga to reach third round|
|Returning Cousins calls Warriors ´the most hated team in sports´|
|Halep injury ´nothing dangerous´|
|Warner picks up elbow injury in Bangladesh|
|Mkhitaryan returning to Arsenal training next week|
|Leeds United pounce for Real Madrid goalkeeper Casilla|
|Watson lights up Gabba before power cut forces abandonment|
|Superb Serena blows Bouchard away|
|Tevez, Hulk, Oscar, Lavezzi - how the CSL stars Dembele is following to China fared|
|Thiem retires from Australian Open|
|Osaka ´not telling´ when it comes to injury niggle|
|Fabinho enjoying Klopp´s management style|
|Halep battles past Kenin in Melbourne|
|Hartley to miss England´s Six Nations opener|
|Dembele departs Spurs for Guangzhou R&F|
|Nacho convinced Isco remains important to Real Madrid|
|Warriors star Curry sets NBA record|
|Raonic survives four-hour marathon against Wawrinka|
|Osaka powers through to Aus Open third round|
|Irving dominates in Celtics´ win over Raptors|
|Irving called LeBron this week to apologise|
|Ajax star De Jong wants to resolve future ´quickly´|
|Payton on Rams CB Peters: I have great respect for him|
|Rockets star Harden matches Chamberlain with historic performances|
|Nishikori survives Karlovic test in Melbourne|
|Vieira reunion felt really weird - Henry|
|´#BetAgainstUs´ - Edelman and Pats embracing underdog status|
|Van der Vaart: Isco the best player in the world|