Saturday 17 March 2018

'There would be lots of bleeping' - Jose Mourinho reveals how foul-mouthed half-time salvo fired Man United's resurgence

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

Matt Law

Jose Mourinho revealed he laid into his team with an expletive-laden half-time blast before Manchester United’s dramatic comeback to beat Crystal Palace. Trailing to an Andros Townsend goal, Mourinho admitted he could not repeat half of what he told his players at the break because of the language he used.

It got even worse for United three minutes into the second half as Patrick van Aanholt doubled Palace’s advantage. But Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku pulled United level before Nemanja Matic netted his first United goal with a spectacular strike.

“I cannot tell you half of the things I told my team at half-time because there would be lots of bleeping,” said Mourinho. “But what I can say was all about the tactical positioning. The first goal is a bad goal. We started bad once more, not pressing the ball or the opponent and giving them much space. We started the game with some dominance and then they scored.

“In the second half, we were all expecting a direct comeback and then we concede a goal that is a good goal to show the kids in the academies in the country. It shows top players can concede silly goals. That disgraceful, childish second goal changed everything.

“Then the attitude, the intensity, the quality, the dynamic, the risk were all fantastic. We needed that little bit of luck to win in the last minute.”

Mourinho’s substitutions paid offwith Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw and – in particular – Juan Mata all making an impact for United, as Jesse Lingard moved to right-back.

“Marcus was good and immediately created dangerous situations, and opened more spaces in between defenders where our attackers could penetrate the gaps,” said Mourinho. “He was very good from a positional point of view.

“We had to take the risks and Lingard as a right-back is a crazy right-back who can make a defensive mistake by losing his position, but can also be an extra man attacking other areas. We created a lot of problems in that second half.”

It may have been Matic’s first United goal, but Mourinho insisted he knew the midfielder had it in him, saying: “At Chelsea, he scored an amazing goal like this one at Goodison Park and a winning goal against Sporting in the Champions League. It’s a phenomenal goal, but one for two extra points.”

The defeat meant Palace remain in the Premier League relegation zone and manager Roy Hodgson described his emotions by saying: “Total sadness. I saw a group of players give their all for the club, for their team-mates, against all the odds. To come away with nothing – as we did against Tottenham Hotspur – for the second time in a row, I feel sad for them.”

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