Juan Mata has expressed his dismay at Manchester United’s poor performance against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho’s men begun the game tentatively, clogging up the midfield and failing to elicit any forward momentum against the bottom side.
Frustration grew in the second half and turned into miserable desperation after Jay Rodriguez put the Baggies ahead with 18 minutes remaining.
And Mata, writing in his weekly blog, spoke honestly about how disappointing United were against West Brom.
“I know that you don’t want to read anything after a defeat like this one, that any comments made after the game sound like hollow words,” he said.
“I’m not trying to explain anything here, or to make an excuse, I just want to keep this weekly meeting with you, although in days like this one it’s complicated. Some Mondays are happy and some others are not. This is one of the latter.
“We played a bad game this Sunday. There’s not much to add. There’s nothing to detract from West Bromwich, but we didn’t live up to our expectations. It’s disappointing, even more after the win last week, but this is football.
“That’s why it’s so important to keep the right balance in the good and in the bad times. Congratulations to Manchester City, who are mathematically the Premier League winners.”
When a team goes from comprehensively beating the league leaders with a rapturous second half performance to losing to the bottom side with a whimper within the space of a week, you cannot help but wonder about this side’s mentality as a whole.
United were thrilling at the Ethiad because they had to be. The prospect of Manchester City winning the title in front of them provided the fuel for a sensational comeback. Against West Brom, however, it was down to the home side to set the pace in front of their own fans, to establish a dominant pattern in the game. The thrust had to come from them, rather than the situation itself.
And not for the first time under Mourinho, there was no clear plan, no initiative, no connection between players. When the onus is on United, everything can often fall apart.