Belfast Telegraph

Jose Mourinho stands by his Manchester United flops following Champions League exit


Down and out: Alexis Sanchez shows his frustration
Down and out: Alexis Sanchez shows his frustration

By Robert Jones

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho refused to question the attitude of his side after they were knocked out of the Champions League following a 2-1 defeat by Sevilla at Old Trafford.

Wissam Ben Yedder came off the bench to score a brace and render Romelu Lukaku's late goal pointless.

"The first goal was always going to be important in this match not just because of the first leg result but because of the style of the match," Mourinho said.

"We tried from the first minute to be aggressive and intense, and I could find some similarities between the beginning of this game and against Liverpool last weekend, but then we didn't score and Sevilla progressively kept the ball and were confident hiding the ball from us and controlled the game well.

"I wouldn't say we had great control of the game but I couldn't say my players had something wrong in terms of their attitude and their intention to play."

United followed Tottenham out of Europe following their Champions League exit to Juventus last week.

Mourinho, however, was philosophical about the Red Devil’s trophy hopes this season, with the FA Cup now carrying all the weight of their lofty silverware expectations.

“A fantastic team like Tottenham has to do exactly the same as us,” the Portuguese added.

“Liverpool has the Champions League but doesn’t have the FA Cup. That’s football, that’s life. We lost and tomorrow is another day and Saturday is another match. Every player is sad and they don’t hide that sadness.

“That is something that pleases me because I feel exactly the same but we have no time for dramas because on Saturday we have to work as we have an important match.

“I don’t think the performance was bad. I did my best, the players did their best. It was a good performance from them without any danger.

“We had chances to score, and again in the second half we had chances, but the first goal would always change the direction of the game. Sometimes I’m lucky with changes but it was a good move by Vincenzo Montella to bring Wissam Ben Yedder on.

“When they scored the first goal the game was completely different.”

Including the 2011 final, Manchester United have only won one of their last nine Champions League knockout games.

Sevilla are just the third side to score more than two goals at Old Trafford against United under Mourinho — Manchester City twice and Burnley have beaten them to it.

Over the two legs, Sevilla were the better side and deserved the victory, with manager Vincenzo Montella and his substitutes running on to the pitch at the final whistle to celebrate.

United came in for heavy criticism from pundits including former Scotland striker Ally McCoist who stated: “That’s the most disappointing performance I’ve seen from an English team in Europe for many years.

“If Manchester United had shown the urgency they’d shown in the second half against Crystal Palace the United fans would’ve settled for that.

“I didn’t know what United’s game plan was tonight because they didn’t show any urgency or press Sevilla until they went one goal down.”

Belfast Telegraph


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