Football

United have an attitude problem

Former Red Devil Neville says there is nothing worse having your desire questioned by the manager

Former Manchester United stalwart Phil Neville said Jose Mourinho's slamming of his players' attitudes in their 2-1 loss at Huddersfield Town on Saturday was the worst form of criticism for a Red Devils player.

United were beaten for the first time this season, while promoted Huddersfield's shock win marked their first top-flight victory over their illustrious visitors since 1952.

The Terriers' goals at John Smith's Stadium, scored by Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre, were a direct result of disastrous mistakes by United's Juan Mata and Victor Lindelof - who came on for an injured Phil Jones.

After the match, Jose Mourinho launched a withering verbal attack on his players, saying: "In the first half, I was waiting for it (the mistakes).

"It was Mata and Victor, but it could have been another (player)because the attitude was really poor.

"When I lose matches, I like to lose because the opponents were better, had more quality. When you lose because of attitude, that is really bad...

"I don't even remember a friendly match where our attitude was so poor...

"For me, it is quite easy to say the team that deserved to win won."

While the Portuguese refused to single out individual players, Neville said there is no greater critique for a United player than having his desire, attitude and motivation questioned by the manager.

While covering the match for the BBC, the former England defender said: "Huddersfield deserved to win - Jose Mourinho was right.

"I think it's been coming this week - the performance at Anfield, the performance against Benfica in midweek, even though they won.

"They (Manchester United) haven't been good this week and they've lost the momentum that they had before the international break.

"When a manager questions your desire, your attitude and your motivation - I think that's the worst thing for a Manchester United player...

"Huddersfield wanted it more... United were second-best in every department."

While Neville and Mourinho laid the blame at the feet of the players, Paul Merson took issue with the United boss' team selection.

Speaking on Sky Sports, the former Arsenal and England midfielder said: "I think he got it wrong with his team selection.

"I think (Henrikh) Mkhitaryan's got to play and (Marcus) Rashford's got to play. I don't think (Jesse) Lingard or (Anthony) Martial are as good as them.

"Playing two holding midfield players against Huddersfield when they're going to have a lot of the ball, it played into Huddersfield's hands, and fair play to them."

The two holding midfielders Merson was referring to were Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera.

After the match, Herrera admitted that the home side were more aggressive and played with more passion in the first 35 minutes.

He told MUTV: "In the first 30 or 35 minutes, we didn't play good. They were more passionate than us, more aggressive.

"We cannot accept that... We lost almost every ball.

"Everyone has to analyse for himself what happened in the first half. It cannot happen again."

Mourinho's response to the Herrera's comments was to suggest that the players explain their performances to the media.

He said: "I heard Ander Herrera in an interview saying the attitude and desire was poor. Oh my God.

"When a player says that and feels that, I think they should then all go to the press conference and explain why, because I cannot explain that."

Terriers boss David Wagner, meanwhile, called the win one of his three best moments at the club.

He said: "I am totally aware that this is a very special moment. A huge result for small Huddersfield Town.

"For sure, it is one of the top three moments I personally have (had) as a manager of this club." - WIRE SERVICES

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