Jose Mourinho has explained that he didn’t choose his best penalty takers as Manchester United ran out winners in a woeful penalty shootout against Real Madrid on Sunday.
Jesse Lingard handed Manchester United the lead following some brilliant work from Anthony Martial on the stroke of half time before a clumsy Victor Lindelof challenge gave Zinedine Zidane’s men a chance to level from the spot.
The game finished level and went to penalties, which saw Martial, Lindelof and Scott McTominay all miss from the spot, before successful conversions from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Daley Blind proved enough to hand Man United their fourth pre-season victory.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, conceded that he didn’t opt for his five most deadly players ahead of the shootout.
“Very good first half against a top Real squad & in the second half we lost motivation to play against their young players,” he said.
“Three goals out of 10 penalties but it is pre-season and to be honest I didn’t choose my best penalty takers.”
The second half of this encounter, as Mourinho alludes to, was ponderous at best. Madrid brought out their kids and United, under the beating Californian afternoon sun and without the tenacious Ander Herrera, markedly dropped the tempo, starving Romelu Lukaku of any space and giving the whole encounter a fragmented feel.
It was therefore fitting to see such a lackadaisical, comically inaccurate penalty shootout follow. The whole thing ended up feeling like a joke that went on for just a bit too long, one that lost its funny zeal a good week ago, only for your mate to insist on peddling it further.
Either way, Mourinho’s men can take plenty of confidence into their clash with Barcelona following four straight wins on tour.