Jose Mourinho: Man United players must explain lack of desire in defeat
HUDDERSFIELD -- Jose Mourinho said his Manchester United players were so poor during their 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield that they should be forced to explain themselves to fans and the media.
United's unbeaten start to the Premier League season came to an abrupt end in the wind and the rain at the John Smith's Stadium, with Mourinho admitting Huddersfield had deserved to win.
But he was at a loss to understand why his team had played without the right attitude and was left furious after hearing Ander Herrera say the same in a postmatch interview. The midfielder had said that Huddersfield "played with more passion than us."
Mourinho told a news conference: "The attitude was really poor. When you lose because of attitude that is really bad.
"I heard Ander Herrera saying in the interviews, saying the attitude and desire was poor. Oh my God. When a player says that, I think they should all go to the press conference because I cannot explain that.
"They [Huddersfield] played with everything they have, like I like, and like it has to be. They played with everything -- aggression, desire, motivation, sacrifice -- and we didn't. The team that deserved to win, won. Simple.
"It was a surprise but it is reality. It was a surprise but it happened. For me, it is quite easy and simple to say the team that deserved to win, won."
A frank assessment of today's result from Ander Herrera... pic.twitter.com/S8ucttuZCw— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 21, 2017
United were punished in the first half after mistakes from Juan Mata and then Victor Lindelof, who came on for Phil Jones in the first half, which allowed Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre to score. Marcus Rashford pulled one back for the visitors.
It was Lindelof's first real taste of the Premier League after a £30 million move from Benfica in the summer, but Mourinho refused to single out the defender or Mata, and instead insisted that the first-half display had been so poor that anyone could have made the crucial error.
"You like individualisation of the mistake and the defeat. I think it is very unfair," Mourinho said. "The mistakes, Lindelof for the second goal and Mata for the first goal, belong in the context.
"If you play an amazing game and lose to an individual mistake, yes, you point the finger. That is not the case. In the first half I was waiting for it. It was Mata and Victor. It could be another."
The result leaves United five points behind Manchester City in the table with Tottenham the visitors to Old Trafford next Saturday.
Mourinho admitted it was one of his worst days as United manager, and conceded the United fans, especially the 2,200 who braved the wind and rain to make the trip to Huddersfield, had every right to be angry.
"I don't even remember a friendly match where our attitude was so poor," he said. "In the second half they tried. We could have a second goal and a draw but it would have been an undeserved draw.
"I feel really disappointed and if I was a Manchester United supporter, not a manager, I would be really disappointed because I think you can play and lose because the opponent had more quality, but not because the opponent had more attitude, so I am really disappointed."
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.