What Was Said: Jose Mourinho not completely content with Manchester United’s performance

Manchester United earned a comfortable 3-0 victory over FC Basel after goals from Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku, and Marcus Rashford sealed the deal. The match represented a solid performance from a rotated side, proving that the squad depth at Old Trafford increases by the day.

The first two speakers after the match, Fellaini and Lukaku were content with the result. Asked about the pleasure that came with winning the match, the former expressed his satisfaction with the result before the latter added that the performance could have still been better.

It was an important game for us, always good to win the first game in the Champions League.

The football was not great but we won, which was the main thing. We are still a work in progress.”

Jose Mourinho felt the performance was good until United went up 2-0, at which point he believes the players did not have enough discipline on the pitch or respect for the opponent. The manager, known for expecting the highest of standards from his players, did not seem particularly impressed with the Red Devils’ second half display, but overall, he admitted that the performance was enough.

Three points are important when you start the group phase at home. Until 2-0 we were very stable and played with confidence. After 2-0 we stopped playing, we stopped thinking on the pitch and could have put ourselves in trouble.

We made bad decisions and played fantasy football, PlayStation football. I don’t like that, it is a gamble. You have to respect your opponent. I felt that after 2-0 our decision-making went completely on the wrong direction. The players relaxed, I didn’t like it.

Overall the performance was solid.”

Speaking about man of the match Fellaini, who came on after Pogba’s injury and picked up a goal and assist, Mourinho was not hesitant to wax lyrical about the Belgian. He also praised Ashley Young, saying that the Englishman was an excellent deputy for Antonio Valencia at right-back.

He is a player with special qualities, he gives me multiple areas of cover and philosophy on the pitch. He is one of my most important players, even if he doesn’t start every week.”

It was somewhat of a surprise not to see Antonio Valencia on the pitch tonight, but his deputy, Ashley Young, produced an excellent performance in his place and picked up an assist in the process.

Ashley gave us what Antonio would give us. I felt he could do the job perfectly and he did it.”

Lastly, asked about Pogba’s injury, Mourinho replied that he hadn’t yet communicated with the medical team, but he confirmed that the Frenchman would be unavailable for Manchester United’s clash with Everton on Sunday.

I haven’t spoken with the medical department, this is why we have a squad, we won’t cry about injuries. No Paul on Sunday.”

While Manchester United’s performance was not fantastic, there are many fixtures ahead to improve, and picking up a comfortable win will be considered enough for Jose Mourinho’s men. Group rivals Benfica succumbed to a 2-1 defeat against underdogs CSKA Moscow, making United’s win arguably even more meaningful and positioning the Red Devils well to become early favourites to progress to the knockout stages.

More concerning will be Pogba’s injury, as there are few players in the squad or even in world football who can replace the Frenchman, but nonetheless, football will continue this weekend against Everton before the Red Devils travel to Burton Albion to play the first match of this season’s Carabao Cup campaign.

Written by Aaron Moniz


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