Jose Mourinho: 'Liverpool had two shots - they were cautious, not us'
Jose Mourinho reserved the most notable and entertaining strikes of a disappointing Anfield spectacle for his post-match press conference. Having claimed a point at Anfield, the Manchester United suggested Liverpool had adopted a cautious approach in the 0-0 draw.
And having been told the possession statistics revealed the visitors enjoyed just 35 per cent possession – a figure that would be their lowest in Premier League history – Mourinho returned to the Anfield press room several minutes after his first briefing to dispute the figures.
“I’ve just been told it was not 35 per cent. It was 42 per cent. That is from our guy,” he insisted.
Earlier, Mourinho had suggested the differential was a reflection on Liverpool’s performance, not his defensive tactics.
“Last season United won here and Liverpool had 14 shots and United had one. Today Liverpool two shots? With 65 per cent of possession you have to be critical of Liverpool not us. That is their problem not our problem.
“It was a good performance. A difficult match for us and them. We controlled the game tactically and we controlled it emotionally and it is not easy to do both things here. The result is acceptable. We wanted more and for long periods we thought that could be possible but we didn’t score and if you don’t score you don’t win.
“That was a positive performance. We could influence the atmosphere in the stadium. They (crowd) were waiting for an easy match for them and it wasn’t. “The reaction from their crowd was permanent disappointment. People expected us to come here and be really in trouble, which we were not.”
United had started the evening on the front foot, before retreating and ensuring goalkeeper David De Gea was rarely troubled aside from two second half saves.
“We stopped them playing but they also did well from a defensive point of view,” said Mourinho.
“The played Can and Henderson for 90 minutes. Normally they project more in attack so they were cautious. It was their intention to control us. Even the goalkeeper was on holiday for 90 minutes but he had two big saves to make and he did. Liverpool did well, too. They are a very good team. You like to say they are the last wonder of the world going forward but they also think defensively.”
Mourinho was asked how he felt referee Anthony Taylor had performed. There were no contentious incidents, although four United players were booked.
The United manager first sought permission from United’s press officer who told him was could say if he thought Taylor performed well.
“He had a good game and I am happy for him because people with responsibility put a lot of pressure on him,” said Mourinho. “It was difficult for him to have a good performance which he had.”