Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho launched a withering attack on his players after they were out-run and out-fought in a historic 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield Town.
“I heard that Ander Herrera is in interviews and he is saying that the attitude and the desire was poor,” Mourinho said. “My God. When a player says that and feels that, I think they should all go to the press conference and explain why, because I can’t explain that.”
Mourinho initially said that United had been affected by having to travel to play Benfica in the Champions League in midweek, while Huddersfield had a whole week to prepare for the game.
But he then praised the attitude of Huddersfield, whose victory was their first over United for 65 years. “They played like I like, they played with everything they have, like it has to be,” Mourinho said.
“They played with everything: aggression, desire, motivation, sacrifice. The team that deserved to win, won. Simple.
“The defeat was on attitude. When I lose matches I like to lose because the opponent was better than us, had more quality than us. When you lose matches because of attitude, that’s really bad.”
Asked how concerned he was by his side’s performance, Mourinho said: “Of course it concerns me. It happened today, why can it not happen tomorrow?”
Aaron Mooy gave Huddersfield the lead after a defensive mix-up involving Juan Mata and Victor Lindelof, before Laurent Depoitre scored a second shortly afterwards following another Lindelof mistake. Mourinho however refused to blame Lindelof for the result.
“The mistakes are mistakes that belong to the context,” he said. “If you play an amazing game and then you lose because of the individual mistake, yes, you point the finger and say we lost because of a mistake. That was not the case.”
United’s defeat, combined with Manchester City’s 3-0 win at home to Burnley , means Mourinho’s side have now fallen five points before the league leaders after nine games.
For Huddersfield, this was a result that arrested a poor run of form in which they had scored only once in their last six matches.
“This is a very, very proud moment,” said David Wagner, their manager. “We altogether know how huge this win is for Huddersfield Town.
“I have not only enjoyed the result but I have also enjoyed the performances the players have shown. Not only today but especially today.
“I said I cannot expect a result. I hope and I believed in a result but I did not expect it. What I expected was togetherness, spirit, attitude and that we make it uncomfortable for them. We created some good moments, we scored goals.”
He added that it was an “extraordinary” performance. “It was a deserved result which we have seen today, even if they were probably not at their best,” Wagner said.
“I am totally aware that this is a very special moment, and a huge result for small Huddersfield Town which is in the Premier League for the first time. I am aware of it, happy about it and proud of it. But, like always, we will celebrate this result then put it in the past.”