The visitors went into half time deservedly behind following a ponderous half of football and then shot themselves in the foot minutes after the restart, with Phil Jones somehow guiding a relatively harmless pass in behind past the onrushing Sergio Romero.
Speaking after the game, the 55-year-old once again criticised his players for shooting themselves in the foot.
Jose to @btsportfootball: “We scored two goals and lost 2-1.” Says it is a joke.
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) December 12, 2018
United did indeed sabotage themselves to a certain degree at the Mestalla. Better finishing from Paul Pogba and Mata in particular moments, along with literally anyone other than Jones playing at the back, may well have meant a win in Spain, and first place in the group to go with it.
But surely Mourinho is engaging in a much more severe and deeply rooted act of self-sabotage every single day as United manager. Key moments went against his team but, beneath that, they looked utterly clueless for 80 minutes, devoid of a tactical structure or any kind of rhythm, until adopting a hell-for-leather mindset for the last 10 minutes which yielded an array of chances and good football.
Mourinho has killed the confidence of key players, alienated supporters from their club, turned United into a synonym for boring underachievement, and engendered a tactical system which only serves to diminish – nay, destroy – the qualities of a squad worth millions packed with talent, to the point where they only start playing well when they stop listening to his instructions.
That is what you call a “joke”.