On the back of Saturday’s frustrating goalless draw against Burnley and with a touchline ban looming at Swansea this weekend, any hopes the United boss had of a morale-boosting win in Istanbul was swiftly extinguished.
Wayne Rooney pulled one back late on – equalling Ruud van Nistelrooy’s 38-goal record as United’s all-time European top scorer – but a frantic final few minutes was unable to prevent a 2-1 loss.
Mourinho pulled no punches in his post-match assessment, saying: “Our problem started in our global attitude.
“They (Fenerbahce) were playing the Champions League final and we were playing a summer friendly. That is the reality of the way the game started.”
This was always going to be a far cry from United’s 4-1 win over Fenerbahce at Old Trafford a fortnight ago, but they froze in front of the baying Sukru Saracoglu Stadium crowd.
“What disappointed me more is that I have quite a big experience of playing against Turkish teams,” Mourinho, who lost Paul Pogba to injury after 30 minutes, said in the post-match press conference.
“And my experience is that when you play against them in our home, it’s easy. It’s always 2-0, 3-0, 4-0, it’s easy.
“You come to Turkey and it is completely different story, so I told them to wait for that, told them not to be focused on the easy game we had at Old Trafford and to be ready for a completely different game,
“We started the game sleeping. I know that we have a problem and especially away from home, it’s difficult to play without two proper central defenders.
“Football play starts with goalkeeper, two strong central defenders. We are playing with two left-backs (Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo) as central defenders and poor Blind is even having to play central defender on the right, which is even more complicated.
“So I think at this moment we lack that structure there, but they start 100 miles per hour and we start really slowly.
“They had the kick-off, they go immediately, the referee gives a free-kick. They take the free-kick in a fast way, we are sleeping, we don’t react. Then it’s a ball in the other side, we lose the second ball. Then the cross is coming, we don’t mark Sow in the box and then the game is a different story.
“Then they are where they want to be. They are in front, then they can control the game, they can defend with a lot of bodies, they can wait for counter-attacks. They can simulate a few fouls, put some pressure on the referee, stop the game, win time, provoke some conflicts.
“But it is not their fault, it our fault that we let them be 1-0 in front.
“Then obviously when you are losing 2-0, the players had a reaction and they tried and probably they could (have equalised).
“But I think we don’t deserve because for me football is from the first second and Fenerbahce played an emotional game. Football is an emotional game and they deserve (to win).”