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Mourinho: We didn’t reflect the qualities we have

Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Old Trafford was a match filled with controversy, to say the least, but the comments after the match from Jose Mourinho, and a few from Zlatan Ibrahimovic were also compelling. Much of the focus surrounded Mourinho’s team selection, as the Portuguese manager chose a very attacking side, contrary to his usual decision-making. Mourinho spoke heavily about this decision in interviews after the match.

Mourinho applauded the excitement of the match and the passion showed by both sides, even though neither side reached their full ability for the duration of the match. The match was emotional until the final seconds according to the Portuguese manager, who seemed to believe United deserved more than a point for their attacking efforts.

“[It was] very exciting, even for the non-neutral – for Liverpool fans and our fans they were enthusiastic until the last seconds. I didn’t think the game had super quality. We didn’t reflect the qualities we have and Liverpool have but it was very emotional, intense, aggressive. We fought until the last second.”

Mourinho applauded Liverpool’s cleverness on the ball, implying that they were less hasty than his own men and he knew they would defend because they knew there would be a struggle in the final minutes of the match. He made it clear that he set up his side to attack today, hoping he wouldn’t receive media criticism for his new efforts because they didn’t yield a win at first attempt.

“They were clever. They took their time, they know how to play football and control the emotions of the game. They knew they would be in trouble in the final few minutes. We were the team that attacked and Liverpool were the team that defended. Let’s see if the critics are fair. I enjoyed it but I will obviously be disappointed we didn’t get the three points.”

Speaking to the goal scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Swede seemed disappointed that the side was not at the top of their game, but he commended his teammates’ fight to equalise after going down in the match. Much like United’s fans, he said the side would live to rue the few mistakes that could’ve been the difference between scoring a lot more goals and conceding fewer. Zlatan was also completely correct in saying that United needed to keep the unbeaten streak moving and continue to win matches.

“We got one point, we were not at the top of our game. It was a hard fight. We were 1-0 down and chased and chased, it was a different game in the second half and we got an equaliser. We made simple mistakes. We were more direct in the second half. They played with high pressure and in the first half there were too many mistakes in our build up. We would like to win every game of course to close the gap even more but 1-1, we continue like this, we haven’t lost a game in 15 or 16 and we are there.”

Ibrahimovic’s comments bring to light a particular aspect of this United side that is becoming a theme; the ridiculous amount of options and squad depth available to Jose Mourinho make this Manchester United side very hard to beat. If United keeps this up, they will surely be in the top four at the end of the season, as long as the Red Devils don’t start to draw too many matches in succession.

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