Manchester United were handed yet another reality check on the European front when they succumbed to a shock 2-1 defeat to Turkish giants Fenerbahce.
After the match, an irate Jose Mourinho slammed the performance of his players, criticising their slow start to the game in particular. Much like their 4-0 defeat at Chelsea, Manchester United conceded an early goal and then failed to recover from the initial setback.
According to the BBC, the Portuguese manager said: “Our problems started in our global attitude. They were playing the Champions League final, we were playing a summer friendly. That is the reality of how the game started.
“In an atmosphere like this, to give the advantage to the opposition, that is where they want to be. They then slowed the play, putting pressure on the referee, simulating and that is our fault.”
After Moussa Sow’s stunning opener in the second minute, the home side took charge of proceedings. United struggled to consolidate their hold in the midfield and were second best in most areas of the field.
An injury to world-record signing Paul Pogba added to United woes and further reduced their chances of getting back into the contest. To the amusement of many, out-of-form striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic came in to replace the injured Frenchman, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan remaining on the bench.
The Armenian came on in the second half, but with his side two goals down, it was virtually impossible for him to inspire a turnaroud. Red Devils captain Wayne Rooney has been under immense scrutiny this season and shut his critics up when he fired home a screamer to give his side a glimmer of hope in the dying stages.
However, Fenerbahce remained resilient in defence and despite a late onslaught from Mourinho’s men, the hosts held on to register a famous UEFA Europa League victory.
The pressure on Mourinho is rapidly reaching its boiling point and adding to his woes will be the absence of Pogba, Ander Herrera and Eric Bailly for Sunday’s fixture against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.