Jose Mourinho blasted the attitude of his Manchester United players after their 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on Saturday.
United were held by the top-flight newcomers after Joao Moutinho cancelled out Fred’s first-half opener shortly after the break.
Despite dominating possession, United struggled to make headway against a well-drilled Wolves team, who threatened to snatch a win at the end in a match that pitted Mourinho against his former reserve goalkeeper during his time at Porto, Nuno Espirito Santo.
“Not a good performance, not a good result. A fair result,” said Mourinho, who praised the attitude of the visiting players.
“Wolves, by the way they faced the game, I think they deserve it. They play like I like to play which is like the World Cup final. That is the attitude I like my teams to have in every match.
“We didn’t have that. They did. That attitude made a difference. They were in the game from the first minute. They play every ball with every second with the maximum intensity and desire and we didn’t.”
After three wins from three away games, United entered the match perhaps confident of a win, but it didn’t materialise, something which Mourinho said was difficult to understand.
“I can’t explain the difference of attitude because I never had a difference of attitude. For me it is difficult to explain that,” he said.
“We won three matches away from home. We came back with a good spirit, in peace because we recovered. Then you start in a poor way.
He, however, refused to use fatigue as an excuse following their midweek Champions League game in Switzerland.
“I could say we were tired, Champions League, awful pitch [against Young Boys], the body suffers the different impact on an artificial rather than actual grass, not coming home after the match.
“I could go in this direction but Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard didn’t play. Fellaini played 20-25 minutes, Fred played 60 minutes, Valencia also didn’t play. We didn’t have a team that was in big trouble with an accumulation of matches.
“So yes, it’s a mental situation. An attitude. And again one team was coming to play the game of their lives, the other to relax.”
Asked if his players needed to improve their attitude, he replied: “Come on, this is something you learn when you are a kid in the academy, you don’t need experiences at the highest level to learn that.
“It is a basic law of football, you have to play at the maximum of your potential, unless you are playing in such a weak league against such weak opponents where playing at 30 percent of your potential is enough. We all know that is not the case.”