Jose Mourinho in blast at Manchester United failures
Jose Mourinho has thrown down the gauntlet to his Manchester United players and warned that this is the time 'for men, not kids' following Sunday's 4-0 humiliation at Chelsea.
Mourinho suffered the heaviest defeat of his career as a manager in England with his former club inflicting a humbling loss on United at Stamford Bridge.
United have now won just once in the Premier League since August and have dropped to seventh position in the table, five points adrift of the top four.
And with the Red Devils due to face league leaders Manchester City in the EFL Cup at Old Trafford tomorrow night, Mourinho has made it abundantly clear that he expects a determined reaction from his players against their rivals.
"We are really, really sad, but this is not for kids," Mourinho said.
"This is for men and we have to be men and work for the next one. I would prefer to play in the Premier League (than in the EFL Cup) because it's a bad feeling in the Premier League.
"With the combination of results, the gap to the top is six points. We've had a very difficult period of matches.
"We lost points this week and even in the match when we played phenomenal against Stoke, we lost points then.
"Now we need to win matches. I'm not saying they are easy ones, but we have Burnley, we have Swansea, West Ham, Sunderland, Middlesbrough -matches that we need to win and the top four, the top five, they have to play between themselves."
Mourinho continued: "They are going to lose points too, so we are in the run-in but there is no way to hide because I think our faces speak by themselves."
Mourinho will face City without defender Eric Bailly, who faces at least a month on the sidelines with a knee ligament injury.
Captain Wayne Rooney is battling to overcome a calf injury after missing the trip to Chelsea, with Luke Shaw expected to reclaim his place at left-back due to Daley Blind being moved across to centre-half.
Despite the setback at Chelsea and the mounting injury problems, however, Mourinho insists he is fully committed to hauling United out of the slump.
"I am Manchester United 100 per cent," Mourinho said. "Not 99 per cent, and one per cent for Chelsea or any other. I am 100 per cent for Manchester United.
"Because of that I feel the situation deeply, but there is only one answer like I was telling the players. Keep fighting."
Meanwhile, Juan Mata says United need to stay strong if they are to bounce back. Mata, introduced at half-time, says the scoreline hurts but knows United can ill-afford self-pity.
"By conceding an early goal the game we had in mind changed completely, and we weren't able to come back," he said.
"It is now, after such a defeat, when we must remain mentally strong and keep going.
"Together we win and together we lose."