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."
|Mourinho has made me a better person, says McTominay|
|Gerard sacked as Barca B coach after woeful winless run|
|Sensational Storm demolish Warriors, Dragons win again|
|Bayern links ´an honour´ for Madrid man Bale|
|F1 Raceweek: Vettel closing in on milestone - Azerbaijan GP in numbers|
|It is wide open - Wozniacki hopeful over Roland Garros chances|
|Roma ashamed by Liverpool fan attack|
|Wade, Ginobili will not be rushed over retirement decisions|
|UEFA ´shocked by vile attack´ on Liverpool fan|
|Mayfield´s Big 12 dominance & Jackson the dual threat - The 2018 Quarterback class in Opta numbers|
|Campbell tips Vieira and Bergkamp to replace Wenger|
|Courtois to sue former Belgium coach Wilmots|
|Heavyweights Ronaldo and Lewandowski go head to head – Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Spurs, Heat eliminated as Celtics go up 3-2|
|Angels overcome Ohtani´s so-so outing to win series over Astros|
|Red Bull want Ricciardo decision by August|
|Rangers injuries piling up as Beltre leaves with hamstring issue|
|A´s closer Treinen exits after being hit by comebacker|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Gabriel leads Santos, Atletico cruise|
|He decides the biggest moments – Wijnaldum hails Salah|
|Finau ready to compete after freak ankle injury at Masters|
|Roma have some hope, says Monchi|
|Westbrook fined $10,000 for altercation with Gobert|
|Messi? Ronaldo? Salah is world´s best player – Gerrard|
|Liverpool are not Barcelona – Klopp cautious of Roma comeback|
|Liverpool supporter in ´critical condition´ after fan clashes|
|Gronkowski commits to 2018 season with Patriots|
|F1 Raceweek: Title race to heat up at venue of Vettel-Hamilton flashpoint|
|It´s all-inclusive football with Liverpool! - Klopp pleased despite Roma recovery|
|Montella to remain Sevilla coach until end of season|
|Di Francesco: Roma gave up – but if you don´t believe in a comeback, stay at home|
|Klopp accepts Salah substitution sparked Roma fightback|
|Oxlade-Chamberlain may miss World Cup after suffering ´a really bad injury´|
|De Rossi blames long balls for Roma ´blackout´ at Anfield|
|Trump happy to fly under the radar at World Championship|
|Late Liverpool lapses sour stunning Salah show|
|Henderson wary of Barcelona repeat as Roma leave Liverpool with hope|
|Championship Review: Cardiff slip up as Barnsley stay in the relegation zone|
|Goffin lives dangerously in Barcelona|
|Liverpool 5 Roma 2: Salah shines but late comeback offers Giallorossi hope|
|Salah sets Liverpool record with spectacular first-half double|
|Six first-round quarterbacks & two top-10 trades - 2018 NFL Mock Draft|
|Oxlade-Chamberlain carried off in Champions League semi-final|
|Indians equal lowest total in defeat to Sunrisers|
|Selby final frustration contributed to ´beginning of the end´ comment - Higgins|
|Wozniacki makes winning start as Radwanska retires|
|Firmino back, as Milner starts for Liverpool against Roma|
|I didn´t want James to go - Zidane ready for Champions League reunion with familiar face|
|Kroos: You can´t buy the Champions League|
|Strauss open to Springboks return|
|Shurmur ends Beckham Jr trade speculation|
|Leeds urged to help Rohingya during ´odd´ Myanmar tour|
|Garcia dumps fit-again Sharapova out in Stuttgart|
|Buffon slams reports of breakdown in Benatia relationship|
|Former France coach Michel dies aged 70|
|Ancelotti talks not about Italy job, says Costacurta|
|Hartley: Concussion will not end my career|
|Stanlake´s IPL stint cut short by fractured finger|
|It was a weird few days - FA Cup final ref Oliver reflects on Buffon incident|
|Boateng not intimidated by supreme athlete Ronaldo|
|McNabb magnificent, Smith a Bengals bust - The last time QBs were drafted 1-2-3|
|Wolff loving battle with Ferrari and Red Bull|
|Heynckes: James was depressed after Real Madrid exit|
|Worry about Ronaldo? Real Madrid should fear Lewandowski, says Heynckes|
|Supporter tensions have affected Wenger - Rice|
|Springboks legend Habana to retire|
|Leinster stalwarts Nacewa and Strauss to retire|
|Germany submits Euro 2024 bid dossier|
|Bulls prop Schoeman given six-week ban for biting|
|Amir to arrive in England after visa delay|