Mourinho Hails United’s “Professional” Performance Vs Bournemouth, Praises Pogba

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has praised his players for being “professional and responsible” in Wednesday night’s Premier League clash against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

The Red Devils won the game 2-0 courtesy of goals by Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku .

The win strengthened their grip on second place in the Premier League table.

Mourinho was especially pleased with how United bounced back from their 1-0 home loss to West Bromwich Albion, and paid special praise to Paul Pogba for a much-improved performance from the weekend.

“The players were good,” the Portuguese told BT Sport .

“It was a good professional performance with good effort and responsibility. There was desire to score and a desire to cope with the defensive responsibilities against a fast team.

“All of them were professional and responsible. The first ambition was to finish in the top four and now one point is probably enough. When we have that resolved we can think about third and second place.

“Everything was faster, it was simple. The players were in the right positions and not trying one more flick, one more trick. Everything was good, I am happy. Every player on the pitch was positive and put himself available for Saturday.

“I’m not very good on man of the match, I’m not a big fan of it, but Paul Pogba played very well. Against Man City he was phenomenal but today he was very, very good. A good choice.”

Man United will meet Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on Saturday for a place in the FA Cup final.

Champions League Pain Not Strange Insists Mourinho

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho claimed that European disappointment is nothing new for the English giants after losing 2-1 to Sevilla at Old Trafford crashing out of the Champions League by the same scoreline on aggregate.

Wissam Ben Yedder scored the two goals  in four second-half minutes on Tuesday that sent Sevilla into the quarter-finals for the first time in 60 years as United suffered a first European home defeat since Alex Ferguson’s Champions League farewell in 2013.

Mourinho was on the winning side that night as Real Madrid manager and also sent United out of the last 16 when Porto boss in 2004.

“I’ve sat in this chair twice before with Porto, Manchester United out, and Real Madrid, Manchester United out, so I don’t think it’s anything new for the club,” said Mourinho, who bristled at questions over his tactical approach.

“I don’t want to make a drama of it. We have no time to be sad for more than 24 hours, that’s football. It’s not the end of the world.”

The visitors were deserving winners as they controlled the game throughout, but had to wait for Ben Yedder’s introduction as a substitute 18 minutes from time to add a clinical finish by taking his Champions League tally for the season to eight goals in seven appearances.

Ben Yedder put Sevilla in front two minutes later when he blasted into the bottom corner before heading in a second shortly after.

Romelu Lukaku reduced United’s arrears, but it was too little, too late with Mourinho’s decision to once again drop Paul Pogba certain to be scrutinised.

“In the first half we played a good game apart from the last 30 metres,” said Sevilla coach Vincenzo Montella.

“In the second half we were more clinical with Ben Yedder, he made the difference today.”

Mourinho sprang a surprise before kick-off by recalling Marouane Fellaini at the expense of Pogba, who had also been dropped for the first game.

Sevilla dominated the vast majority of the first leg only to be denied by some stunning saves from David de Gea.

However, it was wayward finishing rather than the Spanish number one that prevented the visitors making the most of their ascendency for most of the match.

Indeed, of Sevilla’s 10 efforts on goal in the first period only one weak Muriel effort forced De Gea into making a save.

Fellaini gamble backfires

Mourinho’s gamble on Fellaini appeared to have largely backfired as he failed to impose his physical presence on Sevilla’s ball players in midfield.

Yet, the Belgian nearly made the breakthrough with United’s best move of the opening period when he latched onto Alexis Sanchez’s layoff and his powerful effort was turned behind by Sergio Rico.

The second period began in the same vein as the first with Sevilla on the front foot, and only a brilliant last-ditch tackle by Eric Bailly denied Correa a clear sight of goal.

Pogba, who cost United a then-world record £89 million ($116 million) in 2016, was eventually introduced just after the hour mark with Fellaini sacrificed.

However, even the Frenchman couldn’t kickstart the hosts and they were eventually made to pay.

Ben Yedder had only been on the pitch for two minutes after replacing Muriel when he finally broke the deadlock in the tie with a brilliant finish low into De Gea’s bottom left-hand corner.

“Manchester United have experience in the Champions League, it was a special game for us,” said Ben Yedder.

“But I believed in myself, believed in the team and we showed we are a great team.”

Mourinho responded by throwing on Anthony Martial and Juan Mata, but their attacking edge was needed far earlier as Ben Yedder soon put the outcome beyond any doubt when he forced home a corner at the far post despite a despairing effort by De Gea.

Lukaku finally got United on the board six minutes from time when he swept home Marcus Rashford’s corner.

But it was to little avail as United have now failed to reach the quarter-finals for four straight years

Scholes Criticizes  Mourinho, United Players, Says Sanchez Should Be Dropped.

 

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has castigated Jose Mourinho and the team for the UEFA Champions League loss to Sevilla while advising the manager to drop Alexis Sanchez.

United crashed out of the competition on Tuesday night after a devastating defeat to Sevilla sent the Spanish side through to the quarter-finals 2-1 on agreggate.

The Red Devils had only four shots on target over the two legs, which Mourinho dismissed as ‘just statistics’. But Scholes claimed the two performances were the styles of the Portuguese’s reign.

“That’s the way the manager likes to play, on the counter-attack,” Scholes, who has been attacked by Mourinho for criticising United midfielder Paul Pogba, said on television after the match.

“It was difficult watching that and the first game. There is no desire, no energy, no speed. It’s unexplainable. Teams go and try. United didn’t try and win the game away from home.

“Surely the manager must see Sanchez’s not been good enough. He doesn’t know his best front three. He needs to choose his best and leave Sanchez out.”

Sanchez joined United from Arsenal in January in exchange for Henrikh Mkhitaryan but the Chilean has struggled.

However, Mourinho has insisted on starting Sanchez in all of United’s important games while leaving out either Juan Mata, Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford

Jose Mourinho And Antonio Conte Bury Hatchet.

Jose Mourinho has officially put an end to his tyranny with Antonio Conte and admitted the hatchet has been buried between the two.

Mourinho and Conte have spent the season trading and hurling insults, as tensions mounted regarding their two Premier League rival teams.

Manchester United hosted Chelsea recently at Old Trafford, in a contest which saw Mourinho’s men come out on top from a goal behind.

And now the Portuguese boss, who has managed both teams, insists all that has happened in the past must now be forgotten and moved on.

‘We have had problems but now we need to forget about it,’ Mourinho told Italian TV station RAI.

‘He is the coach of Chelsea, I am at Manchester United – we could not do anything different: respect the situation, greet each other and move forward.

‘We did the right thing.’

Tensions between the two elite managerfirst ignited when Conte’s Chelsea side of the 2016/17 season soundly beat Mourinho’s United at Stamford Bridge, prompting the Portuguese to criticise his counterpart for over-zealous celebrations.

This later saw Mourinho likening the antics of Conte on the touchline to that of a ‘clown,’ which in turn began the spiral of events.

As words went back and forth into the current campaign, frustrations peaked when Conte suggested his opposition was suffering from ‘demenza senile,’ provoking Mourinho to retort with the resurfacing of match-fixing allegations which hampered Conte during his previous role at Juventus.

The recent fixture at Old Trafford put an end to all the ill-feeling however, with both managers acting respectfully as Mourinho’s side took a 2-1 victory.

United currently find themselves in second place in the Premier League table, nine points clear of Chelsea after 30 games played.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mourinho Must Hold Salah Off.

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has the tough task of keeping Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah quiet as Jurgen Klopp’s entertainers roll into town at the weekend hoping to displace the current numer two position holder Manchester United Off their seat.

With Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City virtually  winners of the league, northwest rivals United and Liverpool — the two most successful clubs in the English game — are left fighting for the second place.

United’s impressive fightback from 2-0 down on Monday to defeat Crystal Palace 3-2 maintained their slender two-point lead over Liverpool in the battle for the runners-up spot behind runaway leaders City.

Nemanja Matic bailed out Mourinho’s men with a stunning stoppage-time strike in London but another three points papered over the cracks in the latest in a series of unconvincing performances from United.

“We have to be honest, we have to play better,” Matic admitted once the euphoria of his first United goal died down.

 

“We have to do more if we want to win as Liverpool is a team with great quality.”

The onus will be on Mourinho to take the game to the visitors at Old Trafford on Saturday but the Portuguese manager, criticised for keeping his array of attackers firmly on the leash, is unlikely to risk throwing caution to the wind.

Liverpool had scored 20 goals in their previous seven games before a much-changed side drew 0-0 with Porto in midweek, a result that sealed a place in the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in nine years.

With January signing Virgil van Dijk settling in well at the back and Loris Karius impressing in goal, the pieces are falling into place for Klopp’s team, who have lost just once in 20 Premier League games.

But it is their forwards, led by the irrepressible Salah alongside Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, who have scored a combined 68 goals this season, that will give Mourinho sleepless nights.

There was a palpable sensation around Anfield on Tuesday that Liverpool minds were already focused on United, with the free-scoring front three all rested at different spells of the game.

United v Liverpool ‘special’

The match against Liverpool is the first of three games in eight days for United at Old Trafford that will define their season.

Sevilla visit in the last-16 of the Champions League on Tuesday with the tie delicately balanced at 0-0 after the first leg, before in-form Brighton head north for an FA Cup quarter-final.

Mourinho conceded recently “to play Liverpool has a special meaning” for United, so reserving his stars’ energies for midweek is out of the question.

However, he does have a big decision to make over whether to persist with Alexis Sanchez on the left side of United’s attack, with the likes of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in his armoury.

The Chilean has scored just once since moving from Arsenal in January.

Elsewhere, Chelsea need to bounce back from four defeats in five league games if they are to retain any realistic hope of a top-four finish when they host struggling Palace and Tottenham must pick themselves up after being dumped out of the Champions League by Juventus at Bournemouth.

A heavily-rotated City side were also beaten for just the fourth time this season by Basel in Europe in midweek, but still progressed to the quarter-finals and can move to within three wins of mathematically sealing the title when they visit Stoke on Monday.

Arsenal, trailing fourth-placed Spurs by 13 points, look to have blown their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League but Arsene Wenger will be desperate to reverse an alarming slump when Watford visit the Emirates.

Mourinho Backs Conte, Chelsea Over ‘Ridiculous’ Criticisms

Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, has astonishingly came out to support his former club Chelsea and The Blues’embattled coach, Antonio Conte, branding the criticism ‘unfair’.

Mourinho and Conte have not been in the sporting good terms for the majority of the latter’s time in England, with the pair engaging in a protracted and often  war of words this season.

During their spat, Mourinho questioned Conte’s integrity for becoming a subject in a match-fixing scandal – from which the Italian was later exonerated – and The Blues boss responded by calling his rival a “little man”.

But their relationship appeared to have mellowed during Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat to United on February 25, with the pair shaking hands.

That game saw United make a slow start and they did so again on Monday in the dramatic 3-2 win over Crystal Palace, with comparisons made between the two contests, but Mourinho insists the only common denominator is strong opposition.

“Honestly, I know what you are writing as a consequence of yesterday,” Mourinho told reporters at Selhurst Park, 24 hours after Conte’s side came under fire for their defensive approach in a 1-0 defeat at runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City.

“But Chelsea is a fantastic team and, I know it looks a bit strange because you know we had problems in the past, but it’s quite ridiculous that I have to say how unfair it is to speak the way people are speaking about the English champion.

“They are still the English champion. Chelsea was strong against us. They started very strong and created difficulty in that initial part of the game.

“And tonight [Monday] I think Roy [Hodgson, Palace manager] was strong. We were expecting [Jairo] Riedewald in defensive midfield and [Alexander] Sorloth out left, but he came with a 4-4-2, two aggressive strikers together, strong in the air then dropping back to defend.

“Roy was very good. I don’t even want to blame my players and say the start was not good.

“The start was not good because they [Palace] were good and matches like this [going behind early], it’s only possible if the two teams are good.”

Monday’s win gave Mourinho’s side a nine-point edge over fifth-placed Chelsea, with the Blues sitting just five points back of Spurs in the race for the top four.

Mourinho Applauds Lukaku As Man Utd Overpowered Chelsea

Jose Mourinho hailed Romelu Lukaku’s ability to return to a better form after he his rather slow and shambolic start to the season helping his Manchester United team defeat the premier league champion Chelsea by a 2-1 victory at the old Trafford.

Lukaku equalised  Willian’s opener with his first United goal against top six Premier League opposition before a cross out assist  for Jesse Lingard who headed home the winner 15 minutes from time.

“I think he played fantastically well,” said Mourinho on Lukaku’s performance.

“The team didn’t start well, didn’t start very confident, happened the same to him…he was a little bit lost but then he went together with the team.

“He ended the game with the image of a hand in the goal.”

Victory against his former club was particularly sweet for Jose Mourinho as he got one over on Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, but more importantly moves United back above Liverpool into second place in the Premier League.

“It’s a good day for me and we won so that’s the most important thing,” said Lukaku.

“To get the winner would have been even better for me, but to get the goal before half-time was really important for us. We showed our qualities and our desire in the second half.”

Defeat allied to Tottenham Hotspur’s late win earlier in the day at Crystal Palace sees Chelsea slip to fifth.

The visitors enjoyed the better of the first period but failed to build on Willian’s 32nd minute opener.

“For sure we missed by disappointed for the final result,” said Conte.

“Because when you have this type of situation you have to manage the game better with experience and maturity to get three points.”

The spectre of another fiery clash between Mourinho and Conte, who have publicly bickered in recent months, hogged the headlines before kick-off, but there was a peace offering when the pair shook hands before the action got underway.

Mourinho recalled Paul Pogba to his starting XI after dropping the £89 million (100 million euros, $124 million) midfielder for Wednesday’s stalemate at Sevilla in the Champions League.

But it was one of Conte’s two changes from his side’s 1-1 draw with Barcelona in midweek who nearly made an immediate impact.

Alvaro Morata started for the first time in six weeks, but saw his side-footed volley from Marcos Alonso’s driven cross come back off the bar just four minutes in.

Mourinho Plans Contract Extension At Manchester United

The Manager of the Manchester United, Jose Mourinho is said to be ready to finally reach the final agreement with the club on a contract extension.

The contract is said to keep him to the close of 2021.

The information has been that there has been progress in the discussion as regards him staying at the Old Trafford for more years adding to the previous three years the Portuguese signed which is said to be out by June 2019.

‘Manchester united is a great club and I want to take the club to the height and class they belong to and yes my commitment to them is total and and final’ said the 54 year old who also disclaim the rumours of him leaving the club.

Mourinho won the League Cup and Europa League in his first season in charge, though United finished sixth in the league.
They currently sit second, 12 points behind local rivals Manchester City, and are in the Champions League last 16 and FA Cup fourth round.

“I Was Not Happy With His Last Performances,”- Mourinho Says About Mkhitaryan

“I was not happy with his last performances,” said Mourinho. “And I am not talking about one or two. I am talking about three, four or five. He started this season very well and after that, step by step, he was disappearing.

“His performance level — in terms of goalscoring, assists, high pressing, receiving the ball high up the pitch, bringing the team with him as a number 10 — were decreasing step by step.

“And there was a time that was enough. The others, they work to have a chance. Everybody works to have a chance so it’s as simple as that.”

Jose Mourinho has offered a scathing analysis of Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s drop in form as the Manchester United manager explained why the midfielder has been exiled from his squad recently.

The Armenian is expected to be recalled to the matchday squad for Saturday’s Premier League game with Brighton after being out of contention altogether for the past two games.

Mkhitaryan last started for United, and turned in a lacklustre display, in the defeat against Chelsea at the start of the month and, Mourinho explained, that was the final straw for the manager.

Mkhitaryan has endured a torrid time at Old Trafford since his arrival in a £26 million ($35 million, 29 million euros) deal from Borussia Dortmund in 2016.

He found himself banished from Mourinho’s league line-up for well over two months early last season after a dismal display in their 2-1 derby defeat to City.

But he appeared to have won over his biggest critic — Mourinho — with some impressive performances as United won the Europa League and clinched Champions League football.

Manchester Can Win Champions League – Mourinho

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho says there’ll be no underestimating Champions League opponents Benfica tonight.

Mourinho is convinced Benfica will be desperate on the night.

He said: “If Benfica loses, they will be left out, if they win, they will stay in the fight, if they draw, they will be fighting for the Europa League and with a Champions League team Benfica would be one of the strongest in the Europa League.”

Asked about Benfica’s absentees Luisão and André Almeida, Mourinho scoffed.

“I’m missing Zlatan, Pogba, Fellaini, Rojo … If I could have my players and Benfica have André Almeida and Luisão… but I do not go there.”

The United manager also insisted they could win the Champions League this season.

“We can win the Champions League, Porto were not favorites and they won, Inter were not favorites and they won, Real were favorites and they lost three semi-finals. Anything can happen.”

Meanwhile, Benfica coach Rui Vitoria still believes they can upset United tonight.

“In football, there are difficult games, but we already have enough examples to prove that it is not impossible, it will be a difficult opponent, a difficult game, I would not come if I did not believe it,” he said.

“As long as there are points in contention, conformism is not part of my dictionary.”

Mourinho, Shaw Not On Speaking Terms

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho’s relationship with Luke Shaw is almost non-existent, it is claimed.

The Times says Mourinho and the English left back’s relationship has deteriorated, sparking speculation he’s on his way out of Old Trafford.

The duo is no longer speaking as the 22-year-old battles for a game-time despite returning from injury two months ago.

In that time he’s been used just twice off the bench by Mourinho – most recently for three minutes in United’s easy win at Swansea on Tuesday night.

Shaw needs to play to convinced Gareth Southgate he’s worth taking to Russia 2018 and may have to leave to do that.