Jose Mourinho explains his tactical changes against Burnley

by Leo Nieboer

Jose Mourinho has been discussing the tactical changes he made ahead of Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Burnley on Sunday afternoon.

The Portuguese, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic injured and Marcus Rashford needing a rest, deployed an interchangeable front two of Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney.

And the switch paid dividends, with both Martial and Rooney complimenting composed displays going forward with a goal each as Mourinho’s men cruised to victory in the Lancashire sun.

Mourinho, speaking after the game, noted that he reaped the benefits from using the pair up front against Sean Dyche’s men.

“I could play Rooney through the middle and Anthony on the left – would be more natural,” he said.

“But we wanted to overload a little bit the centre with Rooney dropping inside and we wanted to try with Anthony to get behind because he’s obviously faster.

“They did very well. I think I cannot choose individually a performance because everybody was very well.”

What sets Burnley apart from other Premier League sides is that, under Sean Dyche, they care little about the prevailing modern, more continental tactical mindset sweeping this nation. Sean Dyche doesn’t care about fancy foodstuffs, trequartistas and zonal marking; under his tutelage there is none of this nonsense, replaced instead by the Good Old Days of four-four-f***ing-two.

And Mourinho, in response, surprised Turf Moor by playing two up top as well, using Martial as the stretcher of Burnley’s back four whilst Rooney exploited the gaps. This is indeed what Mourinho does: he figures out your game plan, the thing that sets you apart from other sides, builds on it and uses it against you in devastating fashion, barely altering his expression as it happens.

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