Jose Mourinho has said he will no longer be criticising individual Manchester United players in public, a major reversal of past patterns, following the abject performance in a 3-2 defeat at Brighton on Saturday.
Mourinho made headlines last season and over the summer by speaking out about what he saw as shortcomings from his players, notably Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw.
The Portuguese conceded his squad made “big mistakes” in their second game of the Premier League season but refused to single anyone out for blame.
“Look, when I speak about individual displays and am critical with my players, you don’t accept it,” Mourinho told Sky after the game. “The press and pundits criticise when I go in that direction.
“I’ll analyse my players’ performances when they are very good. When I can’t do that, don’t push me to the other side.”
Mourinho suggested he had taken reaction to his comments last season to heart, telling the BBC: “I have to learn from my reality.”
He was left frustrated by United’s performance on the south coast, which followed a win over Leicester last week and an encouraging week of training.
“We were punished by the mistakes we made. For me that’s the story of the game,” he told the BBC. “We made incredible mistakes in some crucial moments, mistakes that killed us.
“Especially that third goal — we expected to come [in at half-time] at 2-1 with positivity — then the third goal killed us off in the second half. Our second goal came too late.
“The week leading up was good and I expected the team collectively to be better. There are basic mistakes that makes it almost an impossible mission to win the match.”
Mourinho also said Brighton’s early goals had robbed United of their “confidence.”
“I was not expecting big mistakes. We are not speaking about small mistakes,” he told Sky. “We were punished by this. When you lose your confidence then it’s the normal tendency to lose that confidence and game plan.”
He also gave full credit to the Seagulls for capitalising on United’s problems, as Glenn Murray and Shane Duffy scored two minutes apart midway through the first half, and Pascal Gross responded to Romelu Lukaku getting a goal back by converting a penalty before the break.
“Sometimes you make mistakes and are not punished but we were punished by every mistake we made,” he added.
“The third goal was too hard. An accumulation of mistakes and punishments with goals was giving happiness and confidence to Brighton.”