Huddersfield stun Man United as Mourinho's men suffer first league loss
HUDDERSFIELD, England -- Three thoughts on Huddersfield's 2-1 win against Manchester United in the Premier League.
1. Defensive mistakes doom Man United
Huddersfield beat Manchester United for the first time since 1952 to end the unbeaten start to the Premier League season by Jose Mourinho's side. Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre scored in the first half before substitute Marcus Rashford pulled one back for United.
Huddersfield came into the game without a league win since August and without a league goal since Sep. 16, while United had kept seven clean sheets in their first eight games. An eighth would have been a top-flight record, but two mistakes, one from Juan Mata and another from Victor Lindelof, ruined any chance of that.
The problems started in the 28th minute, moments after Phil Jones had limped off with an injury. He was replaced by Lindelof, who was making his first meaningful Premier League appearance since a £30 million move from Benfica. It was a baptism of fire.
Mata was dispossessed in midfield by Aaron Mooy who found Tom Ince. David De Gea saved from the son of the ex-United midfielder Paul, but Mooy tucked away the rebound. Five minutes later it was 2-0 when Lindelof misjudged a long kick from home goalkeeper Jonas Lossl, and Laurent Depoitre rounded De Gea to score.
Lindelof's opportunities this season have been limited to the Carabao Cup and the Champions League, with Mourinho insisting the Swedish defender was not ready for domestic action. On the basis of Saturday, it is hard to argue.
United haven't any many bad halves under their current manager, but this was one of the worst, and his response was to replace the ineffective Mata and Anthony Martial at half-time with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Rashford.
The latter's header 13 minutes from time gave United hope they might be able to salvage something, and they threw everyone forward, including Chris Smalling as a makeshift striker, but Huddersfield's defence held firm.
It was another example of United struggling to break down a team happy to keep men behind the ball.
2. Lindelof isn't ready
This isn't a new thing, and Mourinho has said it before; it's why the 23-year-old's 30 seconds at Liverpool last weekend had been his only league experience before Saturday. He probably wouldn't even have been on the bench had Eric Bailly been fit, and he certainly would not have been on the pitch had Jones not been forced off with an injury in the first half.
That setback offered Lindelof an opportunity to prove his manager wrong. Instead, all he did was to show that Mourinho had been right all along.
There are few mistakes more criminal for a centre-back to make than letting a long ball fly over his head, but that's what Lindelof did in the buildup to Huddersfield's second goal. It was terrible error and laid waste to much of the good work he did in having a relatively good game against former club Benfica in the Champions League in midweek.
With Swansea in the Carabao Cup to come on Tuesday, there is a chance Lindelof will keep his place. But Bailly is expected back from a groin problem in time to face Tottenham at Old Trafford next weekend meaning that future opportunities could be few and far between.
3. Huddersfield regain early-season momentum
After two games, Huddersfield were flying; wins over Crystal Palace and Newcastle had given the newly-promoted side a head start in what many expected to be a battle against relegation. Since then, though, reality had started to hit home, and David Wagner's team had started to get dragged towards the bottom three.
But if ever there is a result to help regain some momentum, it is a win at home over Manchester United. This game marked the start of a difficult run for Huddersfield with games against Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal to come before the end of November.
Wagner, though, has the tactical nous to get something from those games; this was no smash-and-grab from Huddersfield. Fast and furious in the first half, with loud fans on top of the pitch, it was the type of game they wanted.
The home side hassled United out of their comfort zone and, aside from conceding Rashford's goal, Lossl had just two saves to make, from Romelu Lukaku early and Ander Herrera in the 76th minute.
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.