Mourinho on Anderlecht draw: “We have to kill matches”

Manchester United drew 1-1 with Anderlecht in the quarter-final first leg in the UEFA Europa League in Belgium on Thursday evening. Henrikh Mkhitaryan opened the scoring in the 36th minute of the match with United in the driving seat throughout the game. Anderlecht, despite their pressuring, did not really threaten until they scored the equaliser in the final minutes of the match with their first shot on target. United were perhaps lucky to get the away goal they needed, but it will be a fraught affair at Old Trafford in a weeks time with Jose Mourinho’s side looking to earn a semi-final place in the Europa League in their quest to reach the UEFA Champions League next season from the European competition.

Michael Carrick was bitterly disappointed with the draw and the failure of his side to kill their opposition off. Carrick, speaking to BT Sport, said:

“We were so in control but got sloppy, we have to kill teams off. We should have won that game. It’s that little edge that makes the difference in the end, but we’ll look forward to the next game.”

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was also unhappy with his team’s inability to kill Anderlecht off during the match, which saw their only shot on target reward them with the equaliser. Speaking to BT Sport, Mourinho said:

“We have to kill matches. We had chances, we had control, but in one mistake we were punished. We start the game at Old Trafford in front, but we had all the conditions to kill the game.” 

Marouane Fellaini, frustrated with the result, spoke about the second change United have to win the game at Old Trafford in a weeks time. Speaking to MUTV, the Belgian said:

“Of course we are frustrated with the result. We had the chance to win the game and the chances to score more goals, but we didn’t and they came back into it in the last four minutes. We’re disappointed but we have another game to make it to the semi-final.”

Mourinho on United’s positive result, which could have been so much better:

“The result is positive – to play at home with an advantage, to start the game with an advantage, it is a good result but I think the result should be much better. We can only blame ourselves because we had an easy game to play in the second half and we didn’t play in attack with that instinct. We lost the ball easily too many times, we stopped our counter-attacks because of sloppy decisions, sloppy touches of the ball and then we gave them opportunity to have some counter-attacks. But luckily our defenders were very much in the game and they resolved all of these problems. But if I were a Manchester United defender I would be very upset with the attacking players because they have to kill the game and they didn’t.”

Mourinho in-depth about Manchester United needing to kill off their opposition:

“We have to kill matches. We had chances, control, but we don’t score goals; we risk. There was lots of space to kill, good chances. Lots of chances that we don’t get because of a bad touch, sloppy touch, a flick, bad decisions in the last third. There was a team with good organisation at the back, but one mistake and we were punished.

“In my poor English I cannot find a better word [than sloppy]. You have to play more seriously. Put the performance of two or three of our attacking players together and you squeeze not much juice out of it. Rashford, Lingard, Ibrahimovic, Martial. They were very similar. But the people behind: very solid, very focused. The defenders did the serious work but the people who had to kill the game didn’t. We start the game at Old Trafford in front, but we had all the conditions to kill the game.”

Mourinho on United’s strong defensive performances:

“It was a strong performance from the team, the defensive part. Lingard and Rashford, they did defensively what we asked them to do; they covered some space but when the team is broken on the counter-attack, we cannot lose so many balls. We didn’t miss so many chances; it was about half-chances and chances where the space is there and the time is there but these moments, sometimes we play two-touch not one-touch and lose the ball. Another time one-touch not two-touch. The decisions were wrong. Probably the only one that everything was correct, with the timings, touches and decisions, was Paul’s shot and that was a good save by the keeper. Obviously, this is what happens all season. We have chances but don’t score enough goals.”

Manchester United go head-to-head with Chelsea at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday, which will be the third and final match between the two teams this season. United had lost both previous matches, the 4-0 defeat in the league and the 1-0 defeat in the Emirates FA Cup, which will be twelve games in a row where United have failed to beat their London opposition. After two defeats this season and three points meaning the world to United and probably Tottenham Hotspur, Jose Mourinho’s side must be up for the challenge of causing Antonio Conte’s champions elect some damage in their bid for their fourth Premier League crown, with Spurs the only likely challengers at this moment in time.

Report: Mkhitaryan’s away goal sees United in the driving seat against Anderlecht

Manchester United drew 1-1 in the UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg away to Anderlecht. Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored the opening goal in the match on the 36th minute, with many chances before and after coming for United. Paul Pogba was unlucky not to double United’s lead in the second half when he was through almost one-on-one with the goalkeeper, seeing his effort thwarted. Anderlecht scored late in the second half, which will make this tie an eventful one at Old Trafford in a weeks time.

Three changes were made by manager Jose Mourinho ahead of the match with Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, and Marcus Rashford returning to the team ahead of Luke Shaw, Marouane Fellaini, and Luke Shaw. Anderlecht started well, pressuring United from the off, which could have resulted in them finding an early goal, but the chance was miss-kicked. United then had possession for a period of time, advancing into the home sides area with Paul Pogba having an opportunity which was not the best for the visitors. United, after a purple patch, Anderlecht were the team with the chances with Marcus Rashford using his pace and ability to United’s strength, which may just work this evening.

United has a great chance inside the 17th minute of the match with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the box and Jesse Lingard hitting the post, which could have seen the Red Devils in the driving seat of the match. A minute later, Rashford had a shot on goal from distance, which was off target, unfortunately. United had a few more chances following, but just could not get the touches, or get through the defence to break the deadlock. It has been an all United affair since the early chances for the home side. United were firmly in control of the match around the half hour mark, with Anderlecht not really advancing. Henrikh Mkhitaryan put United ahead in the 36th minute of the match after Antonio Valencia crossed into the box, Rashford’s shot was parried off the keeper and the Armenian fired into the back of the net from the angle.

The first half was a strong half for United, who weathered the storm from the Belgian side in the opening minutes of the match, got to grips with the game and started firing their chances, which with Mkhitaryan’s strike, put them ahead and gave them the all-important away goal, which may not be enough with them taking the tie back to Old Trafford in a week’s time. United did well, dealt with any threats and got on with looking for the opportunities to take the game. So far so good for United, 1-0 up at the end of the first half. Mkhitaryan scored his fourth goal in the Europa League this season, scoring against Zorya Luhansk in the group stages, then one against each of Saint-Etienne, FC Rostov and now Anderlecht.

No changes at the start of the second half for either team, but in the opening stages, Michael Carrick was booked for a challenge on Frank Acheampong with the home side given a free-kick in a dangerous area, which did not threaten Sergio Romero or United’s goal. Moments later, Anderlecht were on the attack with Valencia clearing the threat twice, keeping United ahead. Youri Tielemans had a chance to get something from the game, but Valencia again did enough to thwart the effort. Anderlecht seemed more positive and resurgent in the second half, getting the better of United, until at least they get the ball back off them, clearing the threat and trying to start something of their own. In the 55th minute of the match, Mkhitaryan nearly doubled United’s lead after a good touch from Matteo Darmian.

Just before the hour, after weathering the storm again from the home side, United broke through with Mkhitaryan setting Rashford through, for the attack to be thwarted. United, despite the pressure being put on them by Anderlecht, seem to be the better side. Doubling the lead will be a big bit of insurance for Mourinho’s side with all to play for at Old Trafford in a week. In the 63rd minute of the match, Mourinho made his first change with Anthony Martial replacing Jesse Lingard. United, still 1-0 up, remained in a good position in the match with Anderlecht going through a period where fouls were their thing. Nine players on the pitch were a booking away from a suspension, which was dangerous territory for the home side.

In the 75th minute of the match, Mourinho made his second change with Marouane Fellaini replacing Marcus Rashford. Despite the Belgian’s threat at different stages in the match, United were the team in the driving seat, dealing with everything and getting forward on the counter. Anthony Martial was through on the right, passing back to the edge of the box with Fellaini driving a goalward shot, which was thwarted by the Anderlecht goalkeeper. Eight minutes from time, Pogba was through on goal, driving his shot from the angle with Ruben making the save and giving United the corner, which Fellaini tried to score from, with the goalkeeper again stopping his effort. United had this game won or seemed to at this stage of the match. Anderlecht were looking to stop that from happening, though.

Anderlecht got the goal they were looking for through Leander Dendoncker five minutes from time. It might be something of a negative for United in conceding that goal, but it was the only shot on target Anderlecht had through the entire match. United had the away goal, which will be the positive aspect of the match, and they will have to ensure they do not concede at Old Trafford next week. Mourinho made his final change in the 90th minute with Timothy Fosu-Mensah replacing Henrikh Mkhitaryan with three minutes of injury time remaining. It was unfortunate that United conceded a goal, but having that all-important away goal will be the big thing coming from this match, especially as the home side only had one shot on target throughout the match.

Goals: Henrikh Mkhitaryan 36′

Manchester United: Romero; Valencia, Bailly, Rojo, Darmian; Carrick, Pogba, Lingard (Martial 63′), Rashford (Fellaini 75′), Ibrahimovic, Mkhitaryan (Fosu-Mensah 90′)

Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Blind, Shaw; Herrera

Bookings: Henrikh Mkhitaryan 24′, Michael Carrick 47′, Timothy Fosu-Mensah 90+2′

Valencia, Pogba, Mkhitaryan and Ibrahimovic start against Anderlecht

Manchester United are back in the UEFA Europa League this time fighting for a semi-final place in the competition, going head-to-head with Belgian side Anderlecht. United hold a record with a 10-0 victory over the Belgian side back in 1956, but more recently, matches between the two side have been much closer; the last a 2-1 defeat for United 17 years ago. Anderlecht are a side in good form, at least in the Belgian First Division being unbeaten in their last 17 matches, scoring 67 goals, sitting pretty at the top of the league. United sit fifth in the Premier League, unbeaten in their last 21 league matches, which is good from, especially after the last four seasons of obscurity at the club.

Manchester United:


Valencia, Bailly, Rojo, Darmian;

Carrick, Pogba;

Mkhitaryan, Lingard, Rashford;



De Gea; Blind, Fosu-Mensah, Shaw; Herrera, Fellaini; Martial



Appiah, Mbodji, Nuytinck, Obradovic;

Bruno, Tielemans, Dendoncker, Stanciu, Acheampong;



Deschacht, Spajic, Chipciu, Capel, Boeckx, Teodorczyk, Hanni

United will have a lot to contend with against the Belgian side this evening, who will be fully up for the challenge of sending the English side packing in the Europa League this season. Six matches have been played between the two sides, United winning four and losing twice. The 10-0 victory, a record set in 1956 will remain in the past for both teams, Anderlecht are much better in the present day, and United have lost a little bit of the team they once were – but that is returning under the management of Jose Mourinho.

Preview: Tielemans and Teodorczyk stand in the way of United in Belgium

Anderlecht -v- Manchester United

Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, Anderlecht, Brussels

UEFA Europa League 2016/17

Thursday 13th April 2017; KO 20:05 BST

Live on BT Sport 2HD

Manchester United travel to Belgium to face Anderlecht in the UEFA Europa league quarter-final first leg on Thursday evening. United are in good form at this moment in time, avoiding defeat in 21 Premier League matches this season, last being defeated by Chelsea in October. In other competitions, Chelsea again knocked United out of the Emirates FA Cup, with a defeat in the EFL Cup second leg against Hull City, before that, two defeats in the Europa League group stage to both Feyenoord and Fenerbahce – both of those away from home. United have lost just seven times in all competitions this season, which is not bad going, but in the league, the main thing hampering them this season is the inability to win, with twelve draws in total, nine of those at Old Trafford. Anderlecht will be the team to beat for United, a team in good form both domestically and on the European stage. René Weiler’s side sits two points clear at the top of the Belgian First Division ahead of Club Brugge, the team United beat, twice, in the UEFA Champions League play-off last season.

There are two players for United to keep their eyes on against Anderlecht; Łukasz Teodorczyk and Youri Tielemans. Between them, they have scored 46 goals in all competitions this season, but there is a chance the Polish international may not play due to recovering from a shoulder injury sustained this weekend. Tielemans, though, will be a player to keep a check on as he is one of the promising young players coming out of Belgium currently. United have their own promising players to utilise, though, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, Marcus Rashford et al looking to be involved in the match which could put United just 90 minutes away from a semi-final place in Europe’s secondary competition, which could keep them in with a chance of earning a UEFA Champions League place next season – which still offers them two chances – both of which need to be taken. Jose Mourinho will play a strong side, being that this is a major chance for United. That seems to have been the case over the last few matches, with play rotation key, especially with a tough match against Chelsea at Old Trafford coming on Sunday afternoon, one United should want to win.

Match Officials: Has Felix Brych been involved in Manchester United matches before?

Felix Brych has been named as the referee for the match at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium on Thursday evening. Brych is an experienced German referee and has been involved in four matches in which Manchester United have played, all being in the UEFA Champions League; the 0-0 draw against Olympique Marseille in 2011, the 2-0 victory over Oţelul Galaţi in 2011 in which Nemanja Vidic was sent off, the 3-0 victory over Sporting Braga in 2012 and the 1-1 draw with Real Madrid in 2013. The assistant referees have been named as Mark Borsch and Stefan Lupp. The fourth official will be Rafael Foltyn and the additional assistant referees will be Bastian Dankert and Marco Fritz.

Form: Two teams in good form will be the main ingredients for a good match?

Manchester United: Jose Mourinho’s side are in good form at this stage of the season, winning three and drawing two of their last five matches. United are unbeaten in 21 matches in the Premier League this season – losing three games in the league in total. Four other matches have been lost – two in the group stages of the Europa League, one in the EFL Cup and one in the Emirates FA Cup. United were boosted by Arsenal’s inability to win matches with a 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on Monday evening, keeping United three points clear of them in the league, putting some daylight in the race to the top four this season. United will need to beat Chelsea on Sunday in order to keep that distance between them and Arsenal, which needs to be done.

Anderlecht: René Weiler’s side are top of the Belgian First Division, two points clear of Club Brugge. Anderlecht has had a good season, seeing the likes of Teodorczyk and Tielemans score 46 goals between them, which could thwart United on Thursday evening, especially with the Belgian side not being scared of them. Anderlecht have lost eight matches in total this season, one of those was against Rostov, United’s Russian opposition in the last round of the Europa League – this was in the Champions League qualification round with the Belgian side drawing the first leg and losing the second. Weiler’s side will be looking to continue their success this season, and keeping a clean sheet at home could be key to that.

The road to the Quarter-Finals of the UEFA Europa League:

Manchester United: Jose Mourinho’s side entered the group stages of the Europa League this season, pitted against Feyenoord, Zorya Luhansk and Fenerbahce. In the first group stage match, United were beaten 1-0 away to Feyenoord. A 1-0 victory over Zorya in the second match put United on winning ways. In the third match, a 4-1 home victory over Fenerbahce helped United efforts in the competition. The fourth match saw United defeated 2-1 in the reverse fixture. A 4-0 victory over Feyenoord put United in the driving seat to make it to the knockout stages, which was secured by a 2-0 victory over Zorya. In the round fo 32, United beat Saint-Etienne 4-0 on aggregate, earning a round of 16 tie with Rostov, winning 2-1 on aggregate. Drawing Anderlecht in the quarter-finals would be a tough tie for Jose Mourinho’s side.

Anderlecht: The Belgian side entered the play-off of the Europa League, after exiting the same stage of the Champions League at the hands of Rostov. The beat Slavia Praha 6-0 on aggregate. In the group stages, Anderlecht were pitted against Saint-Etienne, Mainz 05 and Gabala. The Belgian side beat Gabala 3-1 in their opening group match, then drew 1-1 with Saint-Etienne. In their third match, another 1-1 draw, this time against Mainz. In their fourth match, a 6-1 victory over Mainz helped them on their way to the knockout stages The fifth match resulted in a 3-1 victory over Gabala and the final group stage match, a 3-2 defeat to Saint-Etienne, who topped the group. In the round of 32, Anderlecht beat Zenit St Petersburg on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate victory. In the round of 16, a 2-0 aggregate victory over APOEL saw them face United in the quarter-finals.

Who are the top scorers at both Manchester United and Anderlecht this season?

Manchester United: 28 – Zlatan Ibrahimović, 10 – Juan Mata, 8 – Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rashford, 7 – Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, 5 – Jesse Lingard, Wayne Rooney, 3 – Marouane Fellaini, 2 – Michael Carrick, Chris Smalling, 1 – Daley Blind, Own Goal, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Antonio Valencia

Anderlecht: 28 – Łukasz Teodorczyk, 18 – Youri Tielemans, 10 – Sofiane Hanni, 8 – Nicolae Stanciu, 5 – Frank Acheampong, Massimo Bruno, Alexandru Chipciu, 3 – Leander Dendoncker, Kara Mbodji, Idrissa Sylla, 2 – Diego Capel, Hamdi Harbaoui, Uroš Spajić, 1 – Steven Defour, Michaël Heylen, Bram Nuytinck, Ivan Obradović, Isaac Kiese Thelin

Team News: Antonio Valencia to return for resurgent Red Devils?

Antonio Valencia could make his return to the starting XI after sitting out the last two matches, not down to injury. The Ecuadorian is one of the players of the season and was due a rest, especially with some big matches coming up for the Red Devils. David De Gea has a hip problem, which is not a big deal according to Mourinho, but Sergio Romero may retain his position in the team which heads to Belgium. United will be without Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Juan Mata through long-term injury and captain Wayne Rooney could remain out of the squad through injury too. Andy Nájar is out of action for the hosts, as could top scorer Łukasz Teodorczyk who seemed to suffer a shoulder injury at the weekend. More will be known after Wednesday evening’s press conference after the team have arrived in Belgium.

Previous Meetings: A 10-0 thrashing of Anderlecht back in 1956 and two away defeats

Manchester United and Anderlecht have met six times in the history of both clubs dating between the 12th September 1956 and Thursday night’s match. The most recent match dates back to the 24th October 2000, which saw United defeated 2-1 in Belgium. In total, United have won four matches, losing twice. United still hold a club record today for the biggest victory, which was against Anderlecht in the game played on the 26th September 1956, a fortnight after the first match between the two clubs, with United winning 10-0 in a match due to be played at Old Trafford, but a floodlight failure moved the game to Manchester City’s former home, Maine Road. Dennis Viollet scored four in that match, Tommy Taylor scored a hat-trick, Liam Whelan scored a brace and Johnny Berry scored once. It was, of course, just under 17 months before that fateful day in Munich saw those Busby Babes end their days as one of the most exciting teams in English football history. United have won every home match against Anderlecht but their away form against the Belgian side is questionable, losing two of three away matches played – both the recent ones.

Starting XI Prediction: Who is going to start against Anderlecht?

Predicted Score:

Anderlecht 1-1 Manchester United

copyright: JW