Jose Mourinho has revealed what he said at half-time during Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday.
The home side struggled to pin Sunderland back during the early stages of the encounter, often failing to forge clear cut chances until Daley Blind swept home after 39 minutes.
Mourinho’s men, attacking the Stretford End, put the result beyond doubt with an emphatic second half display, adding two more goals through Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The 53-year-old, speaking after the game, revealed that he ordered his team to display more conviction going forward at half-time.
“My message was that the game was going in the direction where we were in control but it was apathetic control. You never know,” he said.
“We needed to accelerate the game, press higher, play faster and short passes with more speed of the ball.
“We needed to bring the game to a different level and we did that from minute one [of the second half].
“With Micki [Henrikh Mkhitaryan] and [Anthony] Martial, we intensified even more the game and we scored the second and third.”
“Apathetic control” perfectly sums up Man United’s approach under Louis van Gaal last season. Clearly in the driving seat, hands firmly on the steering wheel, but only in second gear, listlessly crawling down a B-road.
This time around, however, the emphasis is different. Mourinho demands more than just control; he demands aggression, conviction, a sense of purpose and instinct going forward; he doesn’t want his side to happily coast to a 1-0 victory; he wants his men to take to the field with a renewed bloodlust, always looking to batter their opponents into submission.