Home » Phil Jones explains what Jose Mourinho told players to do against Liverpool

Phil Jones explains what Jose Mourinho told players to do against Liverpool

by Leo Nieboer

Phil Jones has revealed that Jose Mourinho told his players to opt for a more direct route at half-time during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday.

Mourinho’s men struggled to deal with Liverpool’s intense pressing during the first half and went into the half-time break trailing following James Milner’s penalty.

The Portuguese, in response, switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation and placed Wayne Rooney at No.10, encouraging a more direct approach that ultimately led to Zlatan Ibrahimovic nodding home a late equaliser.

Jones, speaking after the game, noted that Mourinho had encouraged his players to employ a more direct style against Jurgen Klopp’s side.

“The manager said that in the first half we played too much into their hands,” he said. “You could see in the second half we went a little bit more direct and they struggled to deal with it, especially with Ibra up top.

“Straight away from when the second half whistle went it must have been like a basketball match to watch. They attacked, we attacked, and it continued like that for the 45 minutes. It’s just unfortunate we didn’t score the goal early enough to put them under a bit more pressure to get the second that we wanted.”

Man United begun the game against Liverpool employing their standard approach: work the ball through midfield quickly, pass with intent and forge an opening when the time is right. And despite carving out several clear-cut opportunities, you could tell that such a method was not having its normal impact.

The visitors pressed United remarkably hard during the opening stages, placing pressure on the likes of Michael Carrick and Paul Pogba, which in turn cut off the supply line to Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the flanks.

Mourinho quickly addressed this, encouraging his players to launch a more physical, direct onslaught in the second half, and with Marouane Fellaini at the epicentre of this new approach United forged an equaliser.

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