Jose Mourinho has explained why he wasn’t happy with his Manchester United side during their 3-0 win over Saint Etienne in the Europa League, noting that a lack of concentration almost cost the home side early on against Christophe Galtier’s side.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s deflected free-kick after 15 minutes handed Man United the advantage before half-time, but the visitors begun to enjoy some space going forward as the first half went on, managing ten shots prior to the break.
But Mourinho’s men, clearly fresh from a few sharp words from their boss, came out for the second half with a renewed sense of vigour and duly dismantled a growingly lethargic ASSE side with two more goals from Ibrahimovic.
The 54-year-old was quick to note that, in spite of what was an emphatic result, the start his side made was well below standard.
“Lack of concentration. I had the feeling immediately in the dressing room, too noisy, too funny, too relaxed,” he said.
“My assistants had the feeling in the warm-up, some of the guys were not focused on getting the right adrenaline in their bodies.
“The game started and the first thing we did was a back-pass to the striker.
“The first-half was hard. Even myself on the touchline, it was difficult to communicate. Second-half different story.”
You could tell, almost immediately, that something was off during the opening stages. United looked unable to get out of their own half, pinned back by ASSE’s rapid pressing and clearly still adjusting to the occasion.
And with Mourinho at the helm, this kind of lethargy was always going to be met with a wall of fury. Whatever he said – or indeed bellowed – at half-time worked instantly. Maroaune Fellaini off, Jesse Lingard on. The message was clear: get out there and run at them relentlessly. This is, it should be noted, easier said than done, but Mourinho’s messages are clearly getting through and producing emphatic results in the process.