'You have to play more seriously' - Jose Mourinho launches fresh attack on his Man United attacking stars
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho gave his players another public dressing down as they blew a chance to establish a decisive lead after a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final against Anderlecht.
For the second time in recent weeks, a frustrated Mourinho directed his annoyance at Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, on a night that saw United miss a host of opportunities to put the tie beyond Anderlecht’s reach.
He also included leading scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic in his criticism on a night when United failed to make the most of clear-cut openings to establish a winning lead in the tie.
“We have to kill matches,” said Mourinho. “We have chances, we don’t score goals, you risk. The result should be much better and we can only blame ourselves.
“There was lots of space to kill, good chances. Our attacking players had lot of space and lots of time. Lots of chances that we don’t get because of a bad touch, sloppy touch, a flick, bad decisions in the last third.
“Our attacking players were losing the ball so easily that in the end, it was not just to stop our counter attack, but it was also giving our opponent a chance to counter attack.
“There was a team with good organisation at the back, but one mistake and we were punished.
“You have to play more seriously. Put the performance of two or three of our attacking players together and you squeeze not much juice out of it. Rashford Lingard, Ibrahimovic, Martial. They were very similar.
“But the people behind very solid very focused. The defenders did the serious work, but the people who had to kill the game didn’t.
“We start the game at Old Trafford in front, but we had all the conditions to kill the game.”
Mourinho was also asked whether he needed to change the mentality of his players and he offered up this crushing response: “This is not the mentality (that is the problem). This is some quality.“
Mourinho made similarly cutting comments after his side’s 0-0 draw against West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League earlier this month, with Martial among those dropped for United’s next game as punishment for his lack of cutting edge.
The United boss has also been outspoken in his criticism of defender Luke Shaw in recent weeks, with public criticisms for his players now becoming a familiar theme of his first year as the club’s manager.
Mourinho may now look to make changes to his team for Sunday’s Premier League game against Chelsea at Old Traffford, with the return leg of the clash against Anderlecht coming up next Thursday and tie very much in the balance.