Jose Mourinho was quick to admit that Manchester United made a number of crucial individual errors in the wake of their 4-0 defeat to Chelsea on Sunday afternoon.
Mourinho’s men then proceeded to capitulate at Stamford Bridge, conceding three more sloppy goals in a performance characterised by ineptitude in front of goal and flimsiness at the back.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho pointed out that individual errors laid the platform for a galling defeat.
“We made incredible defensive mistakes, individual mistakes and you pay for that,” he said.
“In terms of points, we got zero points, we lose three points. We are six points from the top, three from the top four, we now need to win matches.
“We need to win our matches now, which are not easy, we need to win to close that gap, after these last three matches, we made two out of nine, we now need points.”
Chelsea’s first goal was, as both I and Jose have alluded to, down to a moment of complete individual error. At the time, though, I wasn’t too dejected. I thought: right, that was awful, but such moments of early chaos occur from time to time – now pick your heads up and get back on it.
What happened, however, was an unmoderated psychological breakdown – the footballing equivalent of a panic attack, you might say. The chaos that followed wasn’t exactly a catalogue of individual mistakes; above anything, it was a failure to shake off the dysfunction displayed in the opening 30 seconds of the game.
Mourinho’s men, in a tactical sense, never came to terms with Antonio Conte’s dynamic, liberating 3-4-3 and, perhaps more importantly, never managed to recover from their early capitulation.