Jose Mourinho ‘expects more’ from players given chance against Valencia
United boss: ‘I didn’t learn anything from this game - at all’
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho speaks with assistant coach Michael Carrick during his team’s defeat in Valencia. Photograph: Reuters
José Mourinho aimed another shot at his players, revealing his growing frustration as he insisted he had learned “nothing” and was not surprised by his team’s 2-1 defeat at Valencia.
Manchester United were unexpectedly handed the opportunity to finish top of their Champions League group but, while they wasted that chance and Mourinho admitted they could blame only themselves, he said he had no regrets about fielding a changed line-up and insisted that finishing second still represented “a success, never a failure”.
For the majority of this game United were poor, reacting only in the final minutes. By then Mourinho had introduced Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford, all of whom he had not wanted to play, confirming they would be starters against Liverpool on Sunday by saying “you have to find eight more”. He felt that the opportunity he had handed others here, Paul Pogba among them, had been passed up. Instead, he suggested they had merely confirmed that he was right to have harboured doubts.
“Did you learn anything?” the United manager was asked. “No, maybe you did, not me,” he said. “I didn’t learn anything from this game – at all. Nothing that happened surprised me at all.
“I expect more from my players, especially players that week in, week out, they ask why they don’t play, why they don’t start,” he continued. “It was a good match to play, without any kind of pressure, in a competition that everyone likes to play in. And in the end my team improved really when I made changes I didn’t want to make, which is frustrating because I didn’t want to play the three players that I played in the second half.”
Asked if the performance from his players was good enough, Mourinho first shot the question back. When it was reformulated and he was asked if he was pleased with them, his response was short. “No, I am not pleased,” he eventually said. And when he was asked how he felt about United going behind for a 10th time in 15 games, he replied: “What do you think my answer is?”
“That it drives you mad,” came the response, to which Mourinho shrugged and smiled.
“Before the game I told the players that, if we win tonight and Juventus win, we did our job; if we don’t win and Juventus doesn’t win, we can blame ourselves,” he added. “But finishing second in this group is a success and I don’t think that finishing first or second – apart from a couple of clubs who are clearly much better than the others – [MEANS THAT]the draw will be significantly different.”