Manchester United booked their spot in the FA Cup semi-finals with victory over Brighton – but that was not enough to stop the team from getting a public dressing down by Jose Mourinho.
United ran out 2-0 winners over their fellow Premier League side at Old Trafford on Saturday evening, with Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic finding the net. FULL REPORT HERE.
Mourinho spared the goalscoring duo from criticism but he was scathing about the rest of the United players after the match, accusing them of a “lack of personality” and a “lack of desire”.
It was a second extraordinary rant from the United boss this week, after he used his pre-match press conference on Friday to speak for 12 minutes without stopping in a passionate defence of his managerial record in the wake of the club’s exit from the Champions League.
Speaking after the Brighton victory, he said: “I didn’t like the game, I think we deserved to win because the game was more or less in control for the majority of the time. We scored two goals and they didn’t score and we were in control for the majority of the time.
“We didn’t play the way I wanted to play, I didn’t have the reaction from all of them. I had the reaction from some of them. And because some of them were mentally strong enough and with football quality to play was the reason why we won.
“A team of XI when you don’t have a minimum of six or seven players wanting to play and wanting to have the responsibility of having the ball and the desire to play. Because one thing is to play and it’s another thing to be on the pitch it’s difficult to have a good performance, so no, I’m not happy with the performance at all.
“When I spend two days on faster building up with the ball arriving earlier in between the lines in attacking areas and that depends on qualities and decisions by defenders in possession, but also depends on movement from attacking players.
“I arrive here attacking players were hiding behind the defenders and not wanting the ball, defenders playing square passes and taking 10,12 passes to go from one line to another line. It is frustrating.”
“As a coach the biggest frustration is not the result, because some time that can happen. The biggest frustration for me is when I work on the pitch and I see contradictions in the match,” he continued.
“Statistics are fake, sometimes teams have 10 shots and eight of them go to the stands and one goes in goal but is an easy shot to save. Stats don’t mean a lot.
“What means to me is that we prepare the team to be more aggressive to attack the last line much more and play in between the lines much more.
“And that connection between defenders in possession and attacking players wanting the ball, and having the right movement to get the ball. That connection didn’t work.
“I want more personality in the team because many many times I felt that Matic was an island of personality of desire and control surrounded by not water but lack of personality, lack of class and lack of desire.”