Jose Mourinho has revealed his Manchester United side stopped listening to his touchline instructions during the last 15 minutes of their 2-0 win over Zorya Luhansk on Thursday.
Man United took control of proceedings from the start in Odessa, comfortably shifting the ball across the pitch before taking the lead through Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the 48th minute.
Zorya, with nothing to lose, begun to pile bodies forward in the second half, forcing Sergio Romero into action following a couple of dangerous set-pieces.
Mourinho, speaking after the game, claimed that his side didn’t follow his instructions to keep the ball during the game’s closing stages.
“We are winning 1-0, 2-0. The team was losing the ball,” Mourinho said. “Because of that we got two yellow cards that we don’t need, because now Herrera and Bailly have two yellow cards and now next yellow card they are suspended.
“I was telling them to keep the ball, don’t lose the ball so easy, because in the last 15 minutes they kept losing the ball so many times.
“They don’t listen to me, but they understand that it’s just about keeping the ball.”
There is, I believe, an important difference between a side willingly ignoring their manager’s instructions and a side simply unable to carry out the manager’s instructions.
The closing stages of United’s game with Zorya were decidedly grim: Mourinho’s men – playing their third game in the space of eight days, on a slippery, icy and bobbly pitch, against a side piling bodies forward in sub-zero conditions, 5,000 miles from home – could only muster the occasional foul and unconvincing clearance. With this in mind, calmly shifting the ball around the pitch is easier said than done.