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Frustrated Mourinho fighting his own players

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has hit out at the fringe players who contributed to the defeat to Brighton, saying performances like this is why they “don’t play more.”

United were beaten 1-0 at the Amex Stadium on Friday night thanks to Pascal Gross’ second-half winner — a result that secured Brighton’s Premier League survival.

Mourinho made six changes to the team that beat Arsenal 2-1 last weekend handing recalls to Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Marouane Fellaini and Matteo Darmian.

But the Portuguese coach was not impressed with what he saw.

“Not good enough,” he said. “The players that replaced others they didn’t perform at a good level and when individuals don’t perform at a good level, it is difficult for the team to perform at a good level.

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“So maybe now you understand why some players play more than others, and you don’t ask all the time why A, B and C, they don’t play more.”

Mourinho has often been asked this season about what Martial and Rashford, in particular, need to do to start more games.

They were both in the XI against Brighton with injuries ruling out Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez but, according to the United manager, did not do enough.

“I wouldn’t say disappointed because I know [the players],” Mourinho added. “But I thought for some of them the possibility to start a game, the possibility to give reason to the ones during the season who critical of my choices: Why always Lukaku? Why always Lukaku? Why always Lukaku? You have the answer.”

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United still need four points from remaining games against West Ham and Watford to be certain of finishing second.

Mourinho insisted it is “important” to ensure they finish as runners-up to Manchester City but accused his players of not feeling the same way.

“I didn’t succeed in persuading my players that the four points we need to finish second are very important,” he said. “For me it is, but for some of my players it doesn’t look like it’s very important.

“Probably we are not as good individually as people think we are and I keep saying if we manage to finish second it is great. More than great.”

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