Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho criticizes Man United fringe players: ‘And you ask me why they don’t play?’

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has spoken out over his side’s performance versus Valencia last night, after the Red Devils’ loss saw them miss out on top spot in the Champions League Group H table.

Valencia 2-1 Manchester United

United travelled to the Mestalla for their final Champions League group stage outing of the campaign, having already secured qualification to the competition’s knockout stage.

The Premier League giants sat two points adrift of group leaders Juventus ahead of kick-off last night, meaning a win, coupled with a surprise Bianconeri loss in Switzerland versus Young Boys, would have seen the Red Devils secure top spot.

However, in the end, a weakened United side couldn’t get the job done in Spain, despite Juventus having incredibly succumbed to defeat in Bern.

Jose Mourinho’s men fell behind to a Carlos Soler strike with 17 minutes on the clock, before Phil Jones put through his own net to double Valencia’s advantage just past the half.

And, though the visitors did manage to pull one back through Marcus Rashford in the 87th-minute, the deficit, in the end, proved too much for United to overturn.

As such, the Old Trafford outfit head into the Champions League’s Last-16 as group runners-up.

And Jose Mourinho has since provided his take on his side’s showing last night.

Jose Mourinho looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Valencia and Manchester United

‘I expect better’

After revealing that he was ‘not pleased’ with United’s performance at the Mestalla, the Portuguese tactician added that his side only have themselves to blame for not topping Group H, following Juventus’ loss to Young Boys:

‘I think that to qualify in this group is a success. Never a failure. To finish second in this group is always a success.’

‘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.’

‘I don’t think the draw finishing first or second – apart from a couple of clubs that are clearly much better than the others. I don’t think the draw will be significantly different…’

The Portuguese tactician also took aim at his side’s fringe players for their showing last night, after the likes of Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia, Fred and Andreas Pereira were handed a rare chance to impress:

‘But I expect (better) from my players. Especially players that week in, week out, you ask me ‘why don’t they play?’, ‘why don’t they start?’

‘(It) was a good match to play. A match without any kind of pressure. A match in a competition that everybody likes to play.’

‘And, in the end, my team improved, really, when I made the changes that I didn’t want to make. Which is a bit of frustration because I didn’t want to play the three players I played in the second-half.’

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