Tom Ince believes Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United not only lacked the passion of Huddersfield but showed they cannot match the fluidity of title rivals Manchester City and Tottenham.
The Red Devils left West Yorkshire with a bloody nose after arriving at the John Smith’s Stadium second in the Premier League and unbeaten domestically.
Aaron Mooy fired Huddersfield ahead before Victor Lindelof’s mistake allowed Laurent Depoitre to strike a quick-fire second, with David Wagner’s men holding out for a 2-1 win after Marcus Rashford’s late header brought a nervy ending.
It was Huddersfield’s first Premier League win for two months and left Mourinho bemoaning his side’s poor attitude.
“Listen, the manager knows that toe-to-toe we can’t deal with Manchester United,” said Huddersfield summer signing Ince, son of former United favourite Paul Ince.
“They have got superior players who are world-class, elite players. But all we can do is give the attitude and have the right mentality and desire to try and work for each other.
“We know that if we can cover the yards on the pitch and make it difficult for teams, make it ugly when they come here, then it gives us half a chance.
“We managed to do that, everyone to a man, and we have to continue that now.”
Defeat leaves Mourinho’s men five points behind swashbuckling Manchester City, who are the Premier League form side of the moment.
Pep Guardiola’s men will arrive at the John Smith’s Stadium next month and may wonder which Huddersfield side to expect. In their previous home match before facing United, the Terriers were swatted aside 4-0 by Tottenham.
“When you look at United, they’re obviously a top quality side but they don’t really play with the same fluidity as your Spurs or your Man Citys,” Ince said.
“They build up the game quite slow, they like to get it out wide and we felt that if we could win the ball the back and try to exploit the space in behind – the space the full-backs leave because they go so high – then we were able to do that.
“Yeah, of course, it’s a shock to the system for them because obviously they’ve come here expecting to win, but we’re happy with the three points and a great day for the town.”
It was certainly a blueprint of how to frustrate United, who have got lucky at time in their previous Premier League away games.
As for Huddersfield, victory boosts morale ahead of next weekend’s trip to Liverpool – a side coached by Wagner’s close friend and former colleague Jurgen Klopp.
“He’ll be happy to beat them,” Ince said of dad Paul, who played for both United and Liverpool. “Obviously to get on the scoresheet would be even better
“It’s a great three points and next week will be a different test, a totally different challenge.
“But this can only give us confidence, give us a boost, going in the right direction, how we want to move forward.
“It is important that we showed a performance after (losing at) Swansea, but no-one expected three points and we’re happy we’ve been able to do that for this club and, this town. It’s another bit in the history books for this town.”
Ince added: “I don’t think you can show intimidation to a side like this.
“If you show that then they see that you’re weak and they know that you’re in awe of the players they’ve got.
“It’s Manchester United – of course the occasion is massive, of course to play against those type of players you sometimes have that real sense of ‘what’s going on here?’.
“But we’re 11 men against their 11 men, and we work hard for each other, we show the right attitude.
“I thought we managed the game well at times, we slowed it down when we needed to and up the other end we’ve managed to create chances and score goals.”