Jose Mourinho felt his Manchester United side did not show “enough heart” in their dour goalless draw with Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
The Portuguese had prioritised the eight games Man United have left in the league before New Year as a key period in the season but it didn’t get off to a good start as they were held by the Eagles.
Crystal Palace, without a win in their previous seven league games and one point above the bottom three, made as many decent chances as their hosts in a game that lacked fluidity, and Mourinho was critical afterwards.
“You must play with brain and also with heart and I think not enough heart,” he said.
“We didn’t have that intensity that in my opinion is basically related with your brain, with your heart. There are games that are special games and not just one more, and this was a special game.
“It was the first of eight Premier League games until the end of December and a game we needed to win, and it was not enough from the heart.”
Prior to the Palace clash Mourinho had claimed United could break into the Premier League’s top four by the end of December, if they made the most of their run of fixtures.
They are now 14 points behind leaders and neighbours Manchester City after just 13 games and are already seven points adrift of a top-four spot after Spurs leapfrogged Chelsea into third place on Saturday with a 3-1 win at Wembley.
Man United are 5.50 to finish in the Premier League’s top four this season.