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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said his team “were deservedly punished” after suffering a shock 1-0 defeat to bottom side West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on Sunday.
A single goal from Jay Rodriguez gave the Baggies all three points and also meant that Manchester City have been crowned Premier League champions.
Mourinho was critical of his side after the defeat, per Sky Sports (h/t Jeorge Bird for MailOnline).
“I think we were deservedly punished because we were masters in complication. Everything was complicated, players they didn’t want to play simple. There was no fluidity in our football. We gave them the opportunity to win.
“I know them, I smile. I won eight titles and I’m not in the moon because I won against Manchester City, a match that is just three points. I saw lots of people in the moon because we won against Manchester City.”
Manchester United went into the game on the back of an impressive 3-2 victory over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last time out.
However, they put in a subdued display and only rarely troubled West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster. Football writer Liam Canning highlighted United’s deficiencies:
Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning
No width from the full backs, rarely any width from the wide forwards who cut inside far too often. Yes, Manchester United need midfielders, but they also need players who provide genuine width going forward. It’s so one dimensional.
Midfielder Paul Pogba was United’s match-winner against City but produced another less than impressive display against West Brom. He was booked in the first half after trying to handle the ball into the back of the net and replaced after 58 minutes by Anthony Martial.
Mourinho explained why he had substituted the Frenchman, per sports journalist Duncan Castles:
Duncan Castles @DuncanCastles
Mourinho on substituting Pogba: ‘I wanted to give more width and Paul had a yellow card. And before the substitution he had a situation not for a second yellow card, but we never know in football the way the referees react. And Paul’s game was complicated like many others.’ #MUFC
The hosts appealed for a penalty in the first half after Ander Herrera appeared to have been clipped by Craig Dawson, but nothing was given. Their best chance of the second half was a header by Romelu Lukaku, which was well saved by Foster.
Rodriguez headed home the only goal of the game on 73 minutes after Chris Brunt’s corner was headed back across goal. Samuel Luckhurst at the Manchester Evening News blamed Lukaku for the goal:
Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst
Lukaku culpable for another goal conceded from a corner. He’s a huge presence at set-pieces but no point defending if he is rubbish at it. #mufc
United still had time to get back into the game but struggled to break down a West Brom side that were organised, committed and put in one of their best performances of the season.
Ciaran Kelly at the Manchester Evening News put the result into perspective:
Ciaran Kelly @MENCKelly
Boos ring out as Old Trafford empties..To put result into perspective, going into this game, West Brom were six points from safety, winless in 15 Premier League away games and had scored just 26 goals this season. #mufc
United’s performance was in stark contrast to their display against City last time out, and Mourinho’s team selection is also likely to come under scrutiny.
Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard all started the game on the bench, and although they arrived as substitutes in the second half, they could not inspire another comeback.
Squawka’s Muhammed Butt was not impressed to see United without their young attacking trio:
Muhammad Butt @muhammadbutt
i don’t mean to be dramatic but watching United without Rashford, Martial or Lingard in the team is physically painful.
The result means United remain in second place in the table just a point ahead of Liverpool but having played a game less than the Reds.