Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho felt let down by his players after the hosts suffered a 2-1 defeat to Pep Guardiola's Manchester City on Saturday.
Goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho gave City an early lead before Zlatan Ibrahimovic pulled one back for the Red Devils after capitalising on Claudio Bravo's minor slip up in the first half. However, United were not able to find the equaliser despite coming with a better show in the last 45 minutes of the game.
Mourinho picked Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the starting lineup but replaced them at the half-time with Ander Herreria and Marcus Rashford. The 53-year-old Portuguese tactician believes his players did not give what he wanted of them.
"I did not change after 20 minutes because I didn't want to destroy the players. I did not want to make three changes at half-time, but if it was a sport with a free number of changes I would have done it after 20 minutes. I made a couple of decisions because I thought the individual qualities of certain players would give me what I wanted. But I did not get it," Mourinho was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
"But it is not just about them. We lost the ball very easily. Even our central defenders [Eric Bailly and Daley Blind], who were top-class until today, lost easy balls. What I told them at half-time was: 'For some of you, it looks like you are trying to do what I told you not to do.'"
A lot was being said ahead of Saturday's Manchester derby. Both United and City had started their campaigns on a high, winning their first three games under their new managers, who have had a long-standing rivalry which has now seeped into the Premier League. The United boss believes his wards succumbed to big-match pressure against their cross-city rivals.
His side was undone not just by the disappointing performances of its players but by some decisions that went against the home team during the game, according to Mourinho. Referee Mark Clattenburg remained unmoved when the Red Devils appealed for a penalty after Bravo collided with Wayne Rooney inside the box during the second-half.
"I think some of the boys felt the dimension of the game. Everything around the game – the derby, the big game, Man United, Man City, the focus, the attention. Some of the guys, they felt it. But it had nothing to do with inexperience or age because we have the kid [Marcus Rashford] in the second half and the kid looked like he was playing in the Under18s against Salford City," United manager explained.