Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United were in complete control during the opening stages of their 0-0 draw with Liverpool in the Premier League.
The visitors silenced the Anfield faithful with an exemplary opening 45 minutes, taking hold of the proceedings by pressing high and dominating possession.
Liverpool found their way into the game after the half-time break, forcing two excellent saves from David de Gea, but Man United were largely untroubled.
Speaking after the goalless draw, Mourinho was full of praise for the way his side started the game.
“I think it was a very difficult game for us and for them, but I think it was more difficult for them than for us,” he said.
“We kept control of the game for long periods. In the second half David had two great saves that were isolated from the context.
“But the game was completely under control, not just from a tactical point of view but also an emotional point of view. We influenced the atmosphere in the stadium.”
This was, in many ways, a vintage Mourinho performance. A masterclass in organisation, dedication and an unbreakable structure. Some may chastise the Special One for his ‘anti-football’ approach, but one can’t fault the faultless execution of his plan. Football purists, seemingly all over social media, were obviously outraged, but Mourinho got what he wanted – an unbearable thing for some to accept.
That said, United fans will be disappointed with their side’s failure to capitalise on their dominant first half display: aside from a wonderful cross from Paul Pogba that split Liverpool’s back four, the visiting side were largely non-existent going forward in the second half. Nonetheless, it was a solid beginning to what promises to be a crucial set of upcoming games.