MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Manchester United handed the Premier League title to Manchester City on Sunday after a woeful performance in a surprise 1-0 defeat at home by bottom club West Bromwich Albion.
After all their efforts to stop City from clinching the league in their 3-2 derby win last week, United offered a clear reminder of why they have not been close contenders for the title this year with an abject display, lacking in creativity.
Their fans, who had celebrated the comeback victory at the Etihad last week, booed Jose Mourinho’s side off the field after they lost to a team who had not won since January.
“We were masters in complication, everything was complicated,” said Mourinho.
“We didn’t play simple, everything was slow, one more flick, trick, turn. There was no fluidity. We did not deserve to lose, we gave them opportunity to win the match,” he added.
A 73rd minute header from Jay Rodriguez gave Albion, who appear doomed to relegation, their first away win in 16 outings and just their fourth victory of the season.
United midfielder Nemanja Matic had headed a corner across his own goal area and Rodriguez reacted quickly to nod home the winner.
Mourinho’s side had dominated possession but created few clear chances and their loss leaves City 16 points clear with just five games remaining.
Paul Pogba, the two goal hero last week, was substituted in the 58th minute after a poor display in which he also picked up a yellow card.
West Brom’s former United keeper Ben Foster dealt with the few real efforts that came from the home attack — keeping out a close-range strike from Romelu Lukaku in the 19th minute and then a header from the Belgian in the 66th.
Mourinho threw on Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in the second half. But flooding his attack with players did nothing to alter their inability to open up a well-disciplined West Brom defence playing their second game under caretaker manager Darren Moore.
The result sparked celebrations among the Light Blue half of Manchester but Mourinho said City’s title deserved to be recognised for its true value.
“City won the title because they won more points than everyone else, they were the best team. Don’t say City won the title because United did not win, it is not fair on them,” he said.