What Was Said: Manchester United made it look easy against CSKA Moscow, says Jose Mourinho

Manchester United put on a great display in Moscow in the UEFA Champions League, beating CSKA Moscow 4-1 at the VEB Arena on Wednesday evening. Romelu Lukaku scored the opening goal in the fourth minute of the match, a second coming from the spot in the 18th minute through Anthony Martial, a penalty awarded after Henrikh Mkhitaryan was fouled in the box. Lukaku scored against before the end of the first half, Martial assisting both of his goals with the Red Devils heading into the break 3-0 to the good.

In the 57th minute, Mkhitaryan scored the rebound after Martial had a fierce shot on goal, putting United 4-0 before the hour mark. That was where the scoring had finished for United, despite Lukaku and other attempting to score more goals, the Belgian missing out on a hat-trick. The home side scored in the 90th minute, beating David De Gea, who had kept the Russian side out of his goal for much of the game, despite not having to do much. It was a great result on the road for United, two matches played, six points in the bag, top of the group, for now at least.

Speaking after the 4-1 victory in Moscow, Jose Mourinho, primarily speaking to BT Sport, but reported by the official Manchester United website, the Portuguese manager spoke about various hot topics from the victory, starting with how his United team made the victory look easy…

“I think we made it look easy. We started so strongly, I think we surprised them with our attitude and we were really strong. We killed the game. They didn’t look as good as they are, but I think because of us.”

Mourinho then spoke about how the result was unexpected, especially after United’s previous trips to Russia, the match last season against Rostov in the UEFA Europa League being just one of them, but also United’s previous encounters with CSKA Moscow, despite them not being played in the same stadium. The manager said:

“It was unexpected, 3-0 at half-time was unexpected. But we started strongly, we were really strong, we pressed them, we recovered the ball and our counter-attack was always fast and dangerous. In the first 30 minutes we had four shots, three goals and the goalkeeper made a phenomenal save from Mkhitaryan’s first-post shot. So we started really strongly and by winning 3-0 we had the game in our hands. [Then] it was just control, so it was really good.”

The Portuguese manager then praised start striker Romelu Lukaku, who scored his ninth and tenth goals of the season, bearing in mind this was his ninth match of the season. The Belgian opened the scoring, finding another in the 27th minute with United playing like it was just a walk in the park. Mourinho said:

“He’s having a great record. We know that he’s a very good player, he can score lots of goals and playing in a team surrounded by quality players, [it is] even easier to do that. But I have to admit that he’s scoring really important goals and almost every game. For me, the important thing is not that [how much he costs] but the important thing is two matches, six points and a good position in the Champions League. Four more matches to play but we start really strongly and we are almost there.”

Anthony Martial, the Man of the Match for me, received some praise from the manager also. The Frenchman was involved in all four goals, scoring from the penalty, assisting both of Lukaku’s goals and his shot in the 57th minute was parried and scored by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, showing a commanding performance up front for the Frenchman, which is something the Manchester United supporters will be proud of. Mourinho, speaking about the prolific Frenchman, said:

“Yes, he is understanding and appreciating what I want. I think the game also adapted to his qualities, the way we played adapted to his qualities too. He had lots of freedom and lots of support, lots of quality around him too and I’m happy.”

On the subject of PlayStation football, Mourinho had something to finish with, saying:

“I didn’t see that [PlayStation football] as much, just a little bit of relaxation, a reaction by the home team with the normal pride to try to score, to try to have a different result and we just relaxed a little bit. We had a couple of good chances but I think it’s normal. We have a game on Saturday. Liverpool are luckier than us, they play Tuesday and Sunday, we have to play on Wednesday and on Saturday at 3pm. So I think it’s normal, a little bit of relaxation.”

Manchester United have another Premier League match at Old Trafford on Saturday, against bottom of the table Crystal Palace who had lost all six matches played in the league this season, failing to score a single goal. It could be a dangerous time to play Palace, reeling from a 5-0 humiliation against Manchester City last weekend and seeking improvement. The United who beat CSKA Moscow should give Palace nightmares, more of the same they have suffered in the six matches played in the league, only winning the two matches played in the Carabao Cup this season, which is not a good place to be in. Relegation could be something Palace suffer this season, which would be a shame for Timothy Fosu-Mensah, but it is experience he is there for, not results – he cannot play on Saturday anyway. Come on United!

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