MANCHESTER — Jose Mourinho accused his Manchester United players of getting carried away with their dramatic derby victory at Manchester City and “paying the price” in defeat to West Bromwich Albion.
United followed their 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium — in which they recovered from 2-0 down at half-time — with a 1-0 home loss to bottom-of-the-table West Brom.
Mourinho said the confidence in the squad had been “too high” after the derby and his players had put too much emphasis on the result.
“When you win a match that gives you nothing, just gives you three points, but you react in a way that it looks like you won something really important, you pay the price,” he told MUTV.
United remain second in the Premier League table, a point ahead of Liverpool with a game in hand.
They are 11 points clear of fifth-place Chelsea with five games remaining, but Mourinho — who takes his side to Bournemouth on Wednesday — said they were not yet guaranteed to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League.
He added: “We lost three points that could give us great stability for the second position.
“We still have the fourth position to fight for because Chelsea won [against Southampton on Saturday] and we lost, so we still have to fight for the top four.”
Rob is ESPN FC’s Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.