Wednesday 19 December 2018

'Surprised but happy' - Jose Mourinho has his say on Ander Herrera's honesty after Huddersfield defeat

Herrera in action against Huddersfield and (inset) Mourinho
Herrera in action against Huddersfield and (inset) Mourinho

Simon Peach

Jose Mourinho is sure the poor display at Huddersfield was an "isolated case", with the Manchester United manager claiming to have been impressed rather than angered by Ander Herrera's post-match honesty.

United left West Yorkshire with a bloody nose after poor defending and a meek approach was exposed by David Wagner's impressive side.

Mourinho was incensed by the performance as United's unbeaten domestic run came to an end, with his anger going up several notches after Herrera conceded the promoted hosts played with "more passion" in the 2-1 win.

Despite beating Swansea in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, the fallout has rumbled on this week - talk dismissed by the United boss, who claims to have been impressed by Herrera's post-match interviews.

"I was surprised but happy about his words because it is not easy for the players to recognise and to admit," Mourinho said.

"So I was happy because, again, it shows dignity, shows character and shows the intelligence to know the reason why we lost the match.

"So, contrary to some imaginary sources that tell you everything we do here, I can promise you that since that match I didn't speak one single second about that match because there is no need.

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"After all the words and the feeling of all the players, I don't need to speak about the words, so please do not pay the sources."

Asked if Huddersfield was an aberration, he said: "You know, to play bad and lose matches I think that can happen again.

"It happens during a season. You cannot play well all the time, you cannot win all the time, you cannot even be lucky all the time, so to lose again I think it is going to happen.

But in terms of the attitude that we didn't like and knowing the players and knowing how good people they are, yes, I believe that was an isolated case."

United have the chance to show their true capabilities when high-flying Tottenham arrive at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Injury rules out star turn Harry Kane, but fellow England international Eric Dier may well start - a player who has been targeted by Mourinho's side, with Mauricio Pochettino saying in his new book that the interest "destabilised" the defensive midfielder.

"No, I don't know if it is Mauricio's words or it is his ghost-writer, I really don't know," Mourinho said of an issue his Tottenham counterpart has also downplayed.

"What know is that every season during the summer, even before the summer, Mauricio calls me and I call Mauricio.

"He called to ask me about my players - available or not available - so I don't know why should I begin the football match day in a tunnel (speaking to Dier as reported).

"Maybe it is to try and sell books, maybe his ghost-writer wants to make some money."

United may want to make some money on Marouane Fellaini if they cannot agree a new deal.

The injured midfielder has become a key figure for Mourinho, but his contract expires at the end of the season and the extension clause has already been triggered.

The Untied boss brought up the Fellaini situation when quizzed about whether out-of-favour Luke Shaw would use the optional extra year in his contract.

"I'm worried about Fellaini and not about Luke Shaw because Fellaini finishes his contract and Luke Shaw doesn't," Mourinho said before leaving the press conference.

Press Association

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