Mourinho bemoans ‘awful’ first half display from Man United

‘It was a first half that could, should be game over, 5-2, 6-2 easily,’ says United manager

   Marcus Rashford scores United’s second goal. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

Marcus Rashford scores United’s second goal. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

 

Jose Mourinho recognised Manchester United had been “very lucky” to win 2-1 at Bournemouth after their “awful” display throughout the opening 45 minutes.

Marcus Rashford’s composed finish in the second minute of stoppage time at the end of the second-half secured their latest recovery from a losing position and their third victory from four in the league, ultimately further easing the pressure on their manager.

Anthony Martial’s earlier goal, his fifth from those same four games, had given them cause for encouragement towards the end of the first half, during which they fell behind with Callum Wilson’s 11th-minute finish and were consistently put under pressure.

United remain outside of the Premier League’s top four but again have a sense of momentum and purpose that had eluded them earlier this season, and after his job was reportedly put a risk, the 55-year-old Mourinho told BT Sport: “We were a very, very lucky team.

“It was a first half that could, should be game over, 5-2, 6-2 easily, and in the second half until we scored I had the feeling we were a very unlucky team because we should score three, four, five goals.

“It is what we call a game of two halves. In the first half, Bournemouth were by far the best team and in the second half we were the best team by far.

“It looked like we don’t work tactically during the week which is the worst feeling for me. I feel really frustrated.

“We have fantastic character and the heart that any result, the game is not over and we go until the end.

“I am trying to find the balance where we develop the team in the second, third phase of attack. When we are in control we have no problems but when the opponent is in control we do.”

Ander Herrera had been particularly influential after being introduced as a substitute for the second half. Rashford similarly impressed from the bench, and Mourinho added: “(At half-time) I said it is impossible to play worse than we did, so the second half will be better for sure.

“I was happy bringing Ander Herrera into the game. I felt we needed him to give more balance and to recover the ball faster. I was happy with that change. It was much better.”

Bournemouth had been on course for their sixth victory from seven, largely owing to the fine passing and movement that had consistently stretched United’s defence.

Even with defeat, they have made their most encouraging start to a Premier League season, and their manager Eddie Howe said: “It was a tough one for us. A lot of our aspects of our play were very good, especially in that opening period.

“The discussion at half-time was of course that we weren’t winning but deserved to be winning by more than one.

“They made some good substitutions and the game was different.

“There’s so many good things to come from the game. It’s one of best since we have been promoted and can’t fault anyone with effort.

“Full credit to (United) for sticking in the game because if couldn’t have been easy. Some of our attacking movement was second to none.”

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