Following Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat away to Brighton, Jose Mourinho was happy to hang the players out to dry. After giving the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial a start, only for them to play poorly, the manager wasn’t surprised that they didn’t come up with the goods.
It was not good enough. The players that replace others didn’t perform at a good level and when individuals don’t perform at a good level, it’s difficult for the team to perform at a good level. Maybe now you understand why some players play more than others and you don’t ask all the time why A, B and C don’t play more.
My players, if you ask them, will tell you I told them before the match what was going to happen and I told them at half-time what was going to happen. I knew it. I told them.
Of course, there was a positive reaction in the last 20 minutes. That’s obviously normal. Nobody likes to lose a game. When you feel like you are going to lose, you always try. It is normal that the team that is winning the game, and feel that the victory is so important to them, is going to feel the pressure and in the end they defend more, and give the ball to the opponent more. That’s normal. We could have scored a goal and got a point, but overall, the attitude from the first minute, and especially during the first half, they were obviously stronger than us, had more appetite, they felt the game with different emotions.
I didn’t succeed in persuading the four points needed for second place was a very important thing. For me, it is important, for some of my players it doesn’t look like it is very important. For the Brighton boys, the points really mean enough for them to give absolutely everything they had to give, so they got the bonus for their attitude.
Mourinho was asked whether he was angry or disappointed with the performance given that there were FA Cup final places to play for.
I wouldn’t say I disappointed because I know them. But I thought for some of them the possibility to start the game or to give a reason to the ones that during the season there is always criticism to my choices – ‘why always Lukaku?’. You have the answer. So probably we are not as good individually as people think we are and I keep saying if we manage to finish second, it’s great. It’s more than great. But now we need four points and we must try to get them.