Wednesday 12 December 2018

Jose Mourinho claims Liverpool were afraid of making attacking substitutions

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

Mark Critchley

Jose Mourinho was left lamenting a “game of chess” in which Jurgen Klopp did not “open the door” after Manchester United'sd 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield.

The stalemate was almost a mirror image of the corresponding fixture last season, when Mourinho's United frustrated their historic rivals to take a point.

Like last October, Liverpool dominated possession and had clearer chances to win the game but could not find a way through a deep and disciplined United defence.

Klopp removed the attacking trio of Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, replacing them like-for-like with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Daniel Sturridge and Dominic Solanke, but still did not find the first goal.

After the full-time whistle, Mourinho denied that his side had travelled to Merseyside to play for a point and suggested that the match would have been a more entertaining spectacle had Klopp made less conservative substitutions.

“We came for three [points] but in the second half, we felt it was difficult to do that with the match and the dynamic as it was,” Mourinho said.

“I was waiting for Jurgen to change, I was waiting for him to go more attacking, but he kept the three strong midfield players all the time.

“I brought on Lingard and Rashford and was waiting for him to bring Solanke and Sturridge but keep attacking players, but he kept the strong midfield. That midfield today was stronger than my midfield.”

Mourinho, who could not call upon the injured Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Paul Pogba, insisted his assessment of the game was not a criticism of Klopp and claimed that his opposite number had “done well” from a defensive perspective.

“I know that you think we were defensive and they were offensive. Well, you are at home and you don't move anything. I don't know, I was waiting for that,” he said.

“I think he did well, honestly. He did not let the game break,” Mourinho added. “They kept Can, Wijnaldum and Henderson, they did very well, they pressed high and recovered the ball, so I think they were very good from a defensive point of view.

“For me, the second half was a bit of chess but my opponent didn't open the door for me to win the game.”

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