Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has highlighted Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial’s inconsistent displays as justification for their wide roles in the team following United’s shock 1-0 defeat to Brighton on Friday night.
A second-half goal from German midfielder Pascal Grob was ultimately the difference between the two sides, with the win securing Brighton’s Premier League status for next season.
That saw United blow a chance to move one step closer to sealing second place.
Of course, we had more possession throughout the game and more shots than Brighton but looked like a bunch of lads who couldn’t score in a brothel. United missed Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku.
Rashford, Martial and Juan Mata started as a front three and Mourinho indicated that their performances proved why Lukaku is the first-choice striker at Old Trafford.
“It was not good enough,” said Mourinho, as per The Independent.
“The players who replaced others did not perform at a good level, and when individuals do that, it is difficult for the team to play well.
“Maybe now you will not ask me why A, B and C do not play so much. People always ask: ‘Why always Lukaku?’ Well, now they know why always Lukaku, and why always this player and why always that player. We are probably not as good as people think we are individually.
“I knew what was going to happen, and I told them, but that is what we got. Brighton had one target, to get the point and celebrate their Premier League survival.
“Our target was to get points to help us finish second and they clearly showed that, for them, it is more important for them to stay in the Premier League than for us to finish second. They showed it from the first minute and we didn’t show that. We were not able to motivate ourselves.”
Mourinho will be hopeful Lukaku can return in time to face his former club Chelsea in the FA Cup Final because Antonio Conte’s defenders will be rubbing their hands if United set up like they did last night.
It’s unacceptable for fringe players to perform like that after complaining about game time. They didn’t give the manager anything to think about for the future and, if anything, played themselves out of contention for a spot in the line-up at Wembley in under three weeks time.
But this brings me on to another player, who in the past week has done far worse than Rashford and Martial.
Marouane Fellaini was pathetic against Brighton but the manager decided not to focus on his performance with the press. Why? As far as I’m concerned, the contract offer needs to be removed from the table and immediately put in the bin.
The Belgian has even admitted to holding the club to ransom, with Sky Sports using quotes from a recent interview.