Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho paid tribute to Manchester City after his side’s shock defeat to Championship-bound West Brom handed their rivals the Premier League title.
Avoiding defeat would have prolonged the inevitable but a second-half header from striker Jay Rodriguez ensured City sealed their fifth top-flight title and first since 2014 with five games remaining – a joint Premier League record.
Mourinho lambasted his players for over-elaborating in possession, calling them “masters of complication”, after they produced a performance completely at odds with the stirring second-half showing in their 3-2 title-delaying victory against City last week.
“I know that sooner or later that would be and if I was in that position I would be very upset if somebody say they won the title because Manchester United lost to West Bromwich Albion,” said Mourinho.
“They won the title because they were the best team, because they won a great amount of points and lost only two matches – that’s why they were champions.
“And probably because I won eight championships I was not in the moon with the victory against them because that doesn’t make me feel super happy, and in my opinion affected for sure some of the people that were too happy just with that.”
United currently occupy second place in the table but are 16 points adrift of top spot and Mourinho insists greater consistency is required if his charges have designs on wrestling City’s crown from their clutches next season.
“I trust in my work, that is for sure,” added Mourinho. “I have no reason not to trust. Eight titles are eight titles and three Premier Leagues are three Premier Leagues. The last Premier League was not 20 years ago, it was three. I know how to win.
“In my experience you don’t win titles with inconsistency, you win titles with quality but you win titles with consistency at every level. One thing we have to improve is consistency.”
West Brom’s winner arrived in the 73rd minute when Chris Brunt’s corner was nodded back into the danger area by Nemanja Matic, under pressure from Craig Dawson, and Rodriguez stooped to head beyond David de Gea.