Jose Mourinho won't blame Daley Blind for wasteful Man United's loss
BASEL, Switzerland -- Jose Mourinho says Manchester United were made to pay for not capitalising on a "perfect" first-half performance after Basel scored a late winner at St Jakob-Park.
And the United boss refused to blame Daley Blind for his role in Basel's winner as his team are still effectively though to the knockout rounds of the Champions League despite losing 1-0 to the Swiss side.
It would take a 7-0 home defeat by CSKA Moscow next month, and Basel beating Benfica, for Mourinho's team to go out.
Still, the United manager was left frustrated after a host of missed chances in the first half gave Michael Lang the chance to score the winner in the 89th minute.
He told a news conference: "The first half was a perfect half without the goals.
"It was perfect, and it was difficult to repeat in the second half. We knew that the opponent would try a different reaction.
"Frustration starts in the first half. I was counting to my assistants, one, two and three, then four and five, then Martial, six, Fellaini, seven.
"We go to half-time 0-0 and put ourselves in this situation and in the second half it would be difficult to have the same number of chances."
United were beaten after Lang stole in front of Daley Blind to tap in Raoul Petretta's low cross at the far post.
Blind blamed himself in an interview after the game. Mourinho, though, insisted the Dutchman was wrong.
He said: "The only thing I can get from the goal is the low cross, the right-back coming in front of Daley.
"I know that in the flash interview Daley was blaming himself. It's totally unfair.
"I refuse that situation because we are a team, and in the first half we should be winning five or 6-0 and that was not Daley's fault for sure."
One positive for Mourinho was Marcos Rojo's return to the first team after seven months on the sidelines while Zlatan Ibrahimovic played the last 16 minutes as he continues his comeback.
Paul Pogba, who impressed again, started the game but was substituted after 65 minutes. And Mourinho accepted the Frenchman's withdrawal had contributed to the result.
He added: "Did Paul Pogba coming out have an affect on the team? I think it had.
"We were not such a good team after Paul came out but he had to be, he cannot go to levels of fatigue after 65 minutes.
"But I brought to the pitch an experienced player like [Nemanja] Matic that I thought could affect the game, I bring Marcus [Rashford] to give us more depth, more speed, more problems, Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] to hold the ball, drop and have it, the approach was good.
"I cannot blame the players I think we play a match like this 10 times and nine we win comfortably. The one was now."
United had been on course for a point that would see them win Group A, but appeared to be caught in two minds about whether to stick and secure a point or twist in a bid to win.
"We played against a team that played with five defenders,'' Mourinho said. "We knew that.
"We tried to play with three attacking players and that worked in the first half because they couldn't handle us.
"We didn't score in the second half probably [because of] the fact that we know one point is enough.
"Probably [when] at 75 minutes, 80 minutes we didn't score, so it is not time to try to win, it is now time to try control and in the end we lost.
"So it's hard for me to be upset with the players. The first half the attitude was good, the football was good.
"It is really difficult to blame. It's just football.''
Information from PA Sport was used in this story.
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.