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."
|We have a plan - Ravens coach Harbaugh prepared for Flacco return|
|´It´s difficult to accept´ - Gracia calls for introduction of VAR|
|LaLiga press on with overseas match plan despite Barcelona withdrawal|
|PSG open Coupe de France defence at fifth-tier Pontivy|
|Hazard backs Sterling as Neville reveals England star´s Euro 2016 concerns|
|Everton 2 Watford 2: Digne salvages draw with 96th-minute free-kick|
|Barcelona could ´steal´ Kane, says Pochettino|
|Oakland Raiders fire general manager McKenzie|
|Struggling Villarreal appoint Garcia Plaza as Calleja successor|
|Warriors assign Cousins to G League team|
|Barcelona pull out of plan to play LaLiga game in Miami|
|Pochettino to keep an eye on Inter when Spurs face Barcelona|
|Pochettino confirms Walker-Peters set to start against Barcelona|
|Denver Nuggets add free agent Young|
|Topping Group A no magic wand for an easy knockout draw, says Simeone|
|The cake has been made, now we need the cherry - Ancelotti targets repeat at Anfield|
|Lloris braced to face ´one of the best in history´ in Messi|
|Tuchel expects Neymar to face Red Star|
|Foden signs Manchester City deal to 2024|
|It happened to me! - Valverde laughs off Dembele timekeeping|
|´Projecting´ an Argentina return? Messi met with AFA president and Scaloni|
|Erasmus expects to leave head coach role after World Cup|
|Chelsea issue suspensions pending investigation into Sterling incident|
|Kane is extraordinary – Valverde hails reported Barcelona target|
|Man behind Naomi Osaka´s rise wins WTA Coach of the Year|
|England name unchanged Test squad as Willey returns for West Indies ODIs|
|Spalletti: No issue with Icardi watching Superclasico in Madrid|
|Klopp confirms 2013 talks with ´chatty´ Napoli president De Laurentiis|
|Sri Lanka spinner Dananjaya suspended due to illegal action|
|His reaction was just brilliant – Klopp praises Sterling for response to abuse|
|Gomez renewal a ´smart decision´ for both parties – Klopp|
|Magnificent Molinari named European Golfer of the Year|
|Barcelona best option for Frenkie de Jong, insists midfielder´s father|
|Gronkowski on Miami Miracle: ´Got to make that tackle´|
|Tottenham youngster Walker-Peters signs on until 2023|
|Juventus ´more of a family´ than Real Madrid - Ronaldo|
|Kingsley Coman contemplates retirement if injury nightmare continues|
|McVay ´sick´ over offensive failings as Rams coach takes blame for loss|
|Calleja axed as Villarreal coach|
|Kenyan Drake on Miami Miracle: I couldn´t let Gronk tackle me!|
|Ronaldo: I deserved Ballon d´Or, the numbers don´t lie|
|Rugby Australia to make Cheika decision this month|
|England defender Gomez signs new Liverpool deal|
|Ronaldo wants to see Messi follow him to Italy|
|Neymar happy to play in any position for PSG - Draxler|
|Paine insists he is ´fine´ after taking blow to finger|
|Ponzio: River players will be ´idolised´ for Libertadores success|
|Champions League permutations: How Inter, PSG and Liverpool can progress|
|Kohli: India were better and deserved to win|
|Bears shut down Goff, Rams|
|India survive dramatic finish against Australia|
|Klopp calls for electric Anfield atmosphere against Napoli|
|Saints clinch back-to-back NFC South titles, Bears trump Rams|
|Bucks improve to 2-0 against Raptors with win in Toronto|
|Black Caps include Patel for Sri Lanka Tests|
|Maidana: River want Real Madrid clash|
|Cowboys top Eagles in OT behind stellar Cooper display|
|AC Milan evaluating Fabregas signing – Leonardo|
|WATCH: Steelers´ chance at game-tying field goal slips away|
|Hayne will plead not guilty to charges, says lawyer|
|Boca boss Schelotto: The only thing I feel is sadness|
|Cardinals´ Fitzgerald makes NFL history with most receptions for one team|
|River Plate´s Copa Libertadores star Gonzalo Martinez confirms January departure|
|Klopp: I was never worried about Salah´s form|
|Packers QB Rodgers sets NFL record for most passes without an interception|
|World Cup bulking hampered Man United form – Lukaku|
|Leonardo rules out Ibrahimovic Milan return|
|Warriors´ Green to return against Timberwolves|
|I feel for him… we´ll make it work – Butler responds to Embiid´s frustration|
|Torino draw no missed opportunity for misfiring AC Milan, claims Gattuso|