Jose Mourinho let rip at his “childish” flops after Harry Maguire’s injury-time equaliser left Manchester United 13 points adrift of leaders Man City.
10-man Leicester snatched a last-gasp draw at the King Power Stadium to end a poor week for United just days after their Carabao Cup loss to Bristol City.
It is the biggest gap between first and second on Christmas Day in English top-flight history. And no team has ever blown the title after being so far ahead.
Mourinho stormed: “We didn’t win because we missed incredible chances. I would say joke chances. We were childish in their box and childish in ours. It was an easy match to win, we did everything to win but when you lose big chances like we did, and also losing possession like we did, it’s childish.
“Childish loss of possession, so, so easy. Again in the end, no maturity. Some players have childish decisions and time helps them to have maturity and to decide better. But some other players stay with childish decision until the end of their career.”
Juan Mata’s double had cancelled out Jamie Vardy’s 50th Prem goal. And United were looking to keep within 11 points of leaders City until Maguire struck with almost the last kick.
United had Chris Smalling hobbling for the moments leading up to the goal and Mourinho had spoken to Ashley Young about rearranging the defence.
He said: “I had the chance to speak with Young and to tell him the way the team had to be in position because of Smalling’s difficulty but there was a lack of maturity.
“I cannot stop the game and give a team talk. For the last two minutes the players had to adapt, to read the game, which they didn’t so we had childish decisions in front of goal and bad decisions as it was not just about the goals we missed, or dribbling or hitting the post. It was not just about missing chances with an open goal, it was also about decisions. Easy decisions to make in easy transitions to counter attack.”
Mourinho confirmed his message was not relayed to the team. United should have been home and dry by then but Jesse Lingard hit a post when he had an open goal. And Marcus Rashford raced through and was clipped by Kasper Schmeichel but did not go down.
Mourinho said: “You know there are players that in some other cultures people used to call intelligent players.
“In English culture, it depends on the player, it depends on the club. I remember last year Rashford had a penalty against Swansea and he was killed and some other players keep doing the same and worse and keep being protected.”
Mourinho says his players, now 13 points behind City, have to learn quickly. He said: “It depends on what is inside and the way they learn or they don’t learn. For example and he didn’t play today, that Scott McTominay has still a lot to learn. He is a kid who last year was playing with kids but no childish decisions at all.”