Jose Mourinho has launched an attack on his Manchester United players despite seeing his side reach Wembley with a 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Cup.
Supporters were hoping to see their side, following their worst result of the season against Sevilla, replicate the same passion displayed by Mourinho in his Friday conference, where he spoke non-stop for over 12 minutes.
And while goals from Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic steered Man United to a comfortable win, the level of intensity from the hosts was abject, as if there were still demons from Tuesday lingering in the heads of some players.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho, whose comments have recently stirred even more attention than normal, was unhappy with how his team performed.
Mourinho, "No, I didn't like the game, I think we deserved to win but the game was in control for the majority of the time. We didn't play the way I wanted to play. I didn't get the reaction from all of the players, just some of them."
— Chris Winterburn (@cmwinterburn) March 17, 2018
The main thing that concerned me following defeat to Sevilla and Mourinho’s press conference was whether the boss, in keeping with David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, would settle for mediocrity, or at least try to justify performances that were manifestly below par.
Not here. United were, as he notes, largely devoid of fight or attacking zeal, seemingly trudging their way through the game rather than dominating it like many had hoped they would.
You could tell that some players had not fully recovered from their Champions League exit in the week; their body language suggested a persisting sense of grief, in a way, as if still shellshocked to an extent, or perhaps fearful of putting a foot wrong to further irk the fanbase.
And Mourinho is not going to let it slide. What he has recently said about his team, his club and himself can be questioned for sure. But when he said in the wake of defeat to Sevilla that, just like avoiding overwhelming joy following the Liverpool win, his players needed to shake off the demons from Tuesday, he was right. His team failed to do that today.