Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho refused to single out his players for individual criticism in the wake of his side’s 3-2 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion. Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof were both at fault for a goal each, with the Ivorian conceding a penalty and the Swede letting Glenn Murray go for the game’s opener, but the Portuguese wasn’t willing to name names when it came offering his critique of his side’s performance at full time.
“When I speak about individual performances and sometimes when I’m critical of my players, you [the media] just don’t accept it,” said Mourinho in quotes carried by Manutd.com. “The press and the pundits are normally critical of me when I go in that direction, so please don’t ask me to go in this direction because it’s not good for me. I will be very happy to analyse my players’ performances when the performances are very good. It’s a great thing for me to come in front of the cameras and say players A, B and C had fantastic performances – it’s amazing for me. When I cannot do that, don’t push me to the other side because I don’t want to go to the other side.”
It’s a rare display of tact from the United manager, who had every right to be aggrieved at his players for a flat performance on Sunday afternoon. Errors aside, his side looked no better after three second half substitutions, and only managed two shots on target in the second half when chasing the game at 3-1 down. Still, given how frequently Mourinho has publicly hung his players out to dry over the last two years after sub-standard displays, it’s refreshing to see the former Chelsea boss approach this defeat with a little more restraint when he carries out his post-match interview duties.