Tuesday 25 June 2019

'We lost at home, the fans were amazing to the team' - Mourinho praises supporters after Burnley victory

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho celebrates after beating Burnley
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho celebrates after beating Burnley

Simon Peach

Jose Mourinho thanked Manchester United fans for propelling their side to a timely win that the manager believes should help answer under-fire Ed Woodwards critics.

As if the defeat at Brighton was not enough, the pressure increased heading to Burnley after Tottenham inflicted the heaviest home defeat of the Portuguese's managerial career on Monday.

Mourinho's men rallied impressively at Turf Moor and Romelu Lukaku's first-half brace secured a win far more comfortable than the 2-0 scoreline suggests.

The United manager clambered over the advertising hoardings at full-time and gave his jacket to one of the fans that had chanted his name throughout, sticking with their team as they did on Monday.

"I think we start winning this match because of Old Trafford after Spurs," Mourinho said.

"We lose at home, if the fans react bad, the team loses confidence, the week is not a good week, the team feels pressure and the next match is even more difficult.

"We lost at home, the fans were amazing to the team, the team understood that the direction was good, the result was bad.

"The week was not a sad week. It was a very good week of work and we started the week as you saw.

"Then the fans, of course, were together with the team, especially in the way the team was playing and I feel a bit sorry that we didn't score a couple of goals in front of them because that would be magic for them."

Put to him that the fans' response to him was particularly notable, Mourinho added: "But with me is not important. Important is the team.

"I always say that the manager is not important, the team is important. The manager doesn't play.

"I have miles and miles and miles on the touchline to cope with every different reaction from the crowd. For the players, it's more important.

"I am really happy with the performance, with the result and to give that good feeling to the fans and to say, honestly, that probably they are the biggest responsible for our week because of the way they reacted after Spurs."

Victory provided welcome relief as a difficult start to the campaign that had seen pressure mount on players and staff.

Executive vice-chairman Woodward has been the focus of many supporters' ire and a fan-funded plane flew over Turf Moor describing him as 'a specialist in failure'.

"You know, in the match I am not looking to the sky - unless I am asking something for the guy to give me help," Mourinho said of the banner.

"I didn't see planes but Ed Woodward won this afternoon. He won 2-0."

It would have been 3-0 had Joe Hart not have saved Paul Pogba's penalty shortly before Marcus Rashford was sent off for putting his head into Phil Bardsley's after reacting to a kick.

"I don't know, I didn't watch," Mourinho said.

"(Referee Jonathan) Moss had a good game, a good performance, really. I think the same as the the two assistants and in that action the only thing I can say is that probably the experience of Bardsley,

with 20 years of football, against the impulse and naivety of a guy that is on top football for about three years but is still a young kid.

"Harsh? I don-t know - could get a yellow card for both and keep going."

Burnley were unable to capitalise on that man advantage in the closing stages of a match that Sean Dyche's men had looked leggy in after Thursday's Europa League exit to Olympiakos.

"Well, I think we're finding our feet a bit," the Clarets boss said. "They've had a lot of challenges these players.

"It's game 10 for us of a squad of roughly 17 at any given time. We were down to 16 on Thursday and that's a lot of football for anyone in this early part of the season.

"It's still physically a task. This two-week period now gives us a chance to rest and work, but certainly refresh ourselves for the challenge which is the Premier League."

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