HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 2, MANCHESTER UNITED 1
Huddersfield Town recorded only their third win of the season – their first since August – after condemning Manchester United to their first domestic defeat of the season after mistakes by Juan Mata and Victor Lindelof allowed Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre to put Town into a two goal first half lead.
Marcus Rashford pulled one back for United but Town were able to hold on for their first win over United since March 1952.
Defeat combined with Manchester City’s win over Burnley today puts them five points behind Pep Guardiola’s side but the Reds remain second in the League.
“The team that deserved to win, won” says Jose Mourinho after Huddersfield Town beat Manchester United
Denis Law and Geoffrey Boycott were at the John Smith’s Stadium to witness Huddersfield Town battle to a famous 2-1 victory over Manchester United and after the match Jose Mourinho tore into his own players, claiming that the Terriers “played like I like” and “beat us on attitude.”
The Portuguese refused to use the Champions League midweek game against Benfica as an excuse but did admit that the result was a surprise although he didn’t spare his own players his wrath after praising David Wagner’s men for their performance today.
He said: “They played with everything they had. Aggression, desire, motivation, sacrifice, they played with everything. And we did not. The team that deserved to win, won.”
Mourinho didn’t want to pin the blame on any single player, despite the mistakes by Juan Mata and Victor Lindelof leading to the Huddersfield Town goals, explaining: “It could have been anyone because our attitude was poor.”
Mourinho continued: “I don’t even remember a friendly match where our attitude was so poor.”
“In the second half they tried, and played against difficult circumstances, not just the opponent defended so much, the watch and the wind.
“We could have had a second goal and a draw but it would be an undeserved draw. They deserved to win.
“We came here to play a Premier League match, for three points, and I would feel really disappointed if I was a Man Utd supporter because you can play and lose football matches because the opponent has more quality than you.
“You cannot lose matches because the opponent had a better attitude than you.”
Mourinho opted to make four changes from the midweek team that beat Benfica, with Victor Lindelof, Daley Blind, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Marcus Rashford stepping down to the bench to be replaced by Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard, and Anthony Martial.
David Wagner made three changes from the Swansea City defeat, with Chris Lowe back in for Scott Malone while Aaron Mooy replaced Philip Billing and Danny Williams replaced Rajiv Van La Parra as Town looked for more solidity against United in a highly anticipated game which was watched from a packed director’s box by Denis Law and Geoffrey Boycott.
As with their first Premier League games at the John Smith’s Stadium, Town showed much more desire than their visitors and kept them at bay until they pounced on two crucial errors by the Reds.
Lindelof was the architect of United’s downfall as Storm Brian began to lash the John Smith’s Stadium.
With just minutes of game time in the Premier League to his name, the Swede, who had been confined to appearances in the Champions League until now, apart from a couple of minutes at the end of the Liverpool game last week – showed just why the Portuguese had been reticent to use him more.
Lindelof replaced the injured Phil Jones after just 24 minutes of this contest and four minutes later he was being turned inside out by Tom Ince before David De Gea parried his shot only as far as Aaron Mooy who opened the scoring from 10 yards out.
Mooy had started the move himself, robbing Juan Mata in midfield before powering deep into United territory with Lindelof backpeddling ahead of him and Ince lurking on his blind side waiting for the pass.
Less than six minutes later an awful mistake by Lindelof gifted Town their second goal when a big goal kick by Jonas Lossl should have been easily cleared by the Swede.
Inexplicably, though, he missed his header and the ball bounced before Laurent Depoitre took it around De Gea and slotted into the empty net.
Jose Mourinho made two changes at half time, bringing on Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Mata and Anthony Martial at the break but had never won a Premier League game from being two goals behind – certainly not one playing into the rain as Storm Brian lashed the John Smith’s Stadium in the second half.
United wasted chances to score through Ashley Young, Ander Herrera and Romelu Lukaku but found Town in no mood to give their illustrious opponents enough time to the ball to build anything.
Town had to rely on some last ditch tackling towards the end and some timely clearances from Mathias Zanka.
Unfortunately, Zanka went missing in the 78th minute when he allowed Rashford to slip him to head home Lukaku’s cross from the right during a break in the weather.
But the weather quickly returned with a vengeance and Town managed to hold out for a famous victory after some desperate last ditch defending by both sides, a another late block by Zanka off Chris Smalling preserving all three points for Town, as conditions deteriorated despite conceding 78% of the possession to their illustrious visitors.