LONDON • Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has accused his players of lacking "heart" after their hopes of joining the English Premier League's top four were dented by a lethargic 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Red Devils were booed at the final whistle and the "frustrating" result against a side that are on an eight-game winless run left them seventh in the table and seven points adrift of the Champions League qualification positions.
It was also the sixth time United had failed to win in the league at home this season.
Paul Pogba was anonymous on his return from a muscle injury that saw him miss their last league game against Manchester City and Mourinho was vexed that his attacking selection had failed to produce enough to break down their obdurate opponents.
The Old Trafford stalemate had been the first of eight games United will play in the league until the end of the calendar year and Mourinho was hopeful of a strong showing to help build the winning momentum that his side need.
Instead, the Portuguese was left to sound a warning that a similarly lethargic showing at home to Swiss title-holders Young Boys tomorrow could leave United struggling to progress from this season's Champions League group stage.
While the Red Devils will qualify for the knockout phase if they win, Young Boys travel to Manchester knowing that only a victory will suffice if they want to stay in the hunt for a Europa League spot.
And Mourinho claimed his players should have treated the Palace match as "special" as it was preparation for European football's top-tier competition.
"The objective was to start well this period of eight matches until December. We did not win one point, we lost two," he said.
"If we play with the same philosophy against Young Boys, then we won't win and we will have to go to Valencia (in the final Champions League Group H game) and win there.
"There are games that are special games, not just one more match and one we needed to win.
"There was not enough from the heart. You must play with brain and also with heart, and there was not enough heart."
Mourinho's annoyance was evident at the lack of clear-cut chances created by his side, with a disallowed strike by Romelu Lukaku, whose goal drought goes back to Sept 15, the closest they got to threatening Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
Palace had a strike of their own by Cheikhou Kouyate ruled out by a similarly tight offside call, and both Patrick van Aanholt and Andros Townsend also missed fine chances.
And United's laboured display led Mourinho to question whether his men would be as disappointed as he was, before hinting at a lack of professional pride.
"There are people that will have a bad dinner, there are people who will have a nice dinner and there are people who will have a party," he added.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS