Football

Mourinho: Man United are masters of complications

Mourinho says his side need to be consistent if they are to challenge City next season

A week after an inspiring comeback win against Manchester City, Manchester United fell to a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford by Premier League bottom club West Bromwich Albion yesterday morning (Singapore time) and manager Jose Mourinho said such inconsistency needed to change if they were to challenge their neighbours next season.

The loss handed City the title, leaving United trailing by 16 points with five games remaining and Mourinho immediately faced the question of whether he was confident his team could make a real challenge next year.

"I trust in my work, that is for sure. I have no reason not to trust. Eight titles are eight titles and three Premier Leagues are three Premier Leagues," he said.

"The last title was not 20 years ago, it was three years ago. I know how to win. I believe in myself, but I don't play.

"In my experience, you don't win titles with inconsistency. You win titles with quality, of course. Without quality, you have no chance, but you have to win titles with consistency at every level, not just the performance level.

"The mental level, the day to day, everything must be consistent until the last day. So one of the things we have to improve is consistency."

Mourinho suggested his players might have over-reacted to the win against City at the Etihad, Reuters reported.

"Probably because I won eight championships, I was not over the moon with the victory against them because that doesn't make me feel super-happy. It affected, for sure, some of the people who were too happy just with that," the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager said.

SIMPLE FOOTBALL

A 73rd-minute header from Jay Rodriguez after United had failed to defend a corner won the game for relegation-threatened West Brom and Mourinho said his team had not played the simple football he expects.

"We were masters in complication. Everything was complicated. We couldn't think fast, we couldn't play fast. Players didn't want to or didn't play simple. Everything was slow. Everyone was one more touch, one more trick, one more flick, one more turn," he said.

"We always gave West Brom the opportunity to be solid, compact, and with their huge physical strong players, they always had time to organise themselves. When we had the ball, we wanted to run, dribble and everything was complicated."

However, in his column for the Daily Mail, former Blackburn and Chelsea striker Chris Sutton said that the Portuguese manager had to take some blame for the abject display put out by his charges.

"Mourinho has been in the job a long time and that is not a good enough excuse from a Man United point of view," he said.

"That is him passing the buck. Mourinho has to take a bit of personal responsibility for this.

"United fans are going to be deeply unhappy with what has happened. That performance against West Brom was nowhere near good enough.

"Mourinho is the man at the helm... You have to be careful calling out players. Take some responsibility for yourself.

"It was an unusual performance after beating City. If you were a fan, you would have been expecting far more.

"You would have thought about turning up against West Brom, blowing them away... But that was desperately flat. That has dampened spirits.

"Will United now go on to win the FA Cup? That's a tall order."

United, who meet Bournemouth away in an EPL match on Thursday morning (Singapore time), face Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup semi-finals three days later.

Football