Man U con­tin­ues to strug­gle a er fast sta

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

JOSE Mour­inho says Manch­ester United’s hu­mil­i­a­tion at Wat­ford un­der­lines how much work needs to be done to trans­form his splut­ter­ing side into ti­tle con­tenders. Mour­inho’s men crashed to their third suc­ces­sive de­feat on Septem­ber 18 as Wat­ford’s shock 3-1 vic­tory con­demned United and their man­ager to a his­tor­i­cally bad day.

It was the first time United had lost to Wat­ford in 30 years and the first oc­ca­sion Mour­inho had been beaten in three con­sec­u­tive matches since 2002 when he was in charge at Porto.

Af­ter de­feats against bit­ter ri­vals Manch­ester City in the Pre­mier League and then Feyeno­ord in the Europa League, all talk of a United re­nais­sance has evap­o­rated within the space of eight days.

But Mour­inho in­sists he was al­ready aware of United’s flaws dur­ing the three-match win­ning run that started his Old Traf­ford reign.

Specif­i­cally, he is con­cerned about the frag­ile way his play­ers re­spond to ad­ver­sity and the de­fence’s habit of mak­ing care­less mis­takes when they don’t ad­here to his in­struc­tions.

“We started the sea­son very well with the Com­mu­nity Shield and three vic­to­ries in a row in the Pre­mier League, the best start that a new man­ager has had at Manch­ester United I think,” Mour­inho said.

“But was I think­ing that my team was ready, per­fect, un­beat­able? Not at all.

“I was com­pletely aware that we were not per­fect, with lots of play­ers who are not end prod­ucts and can make their own mis­takes.

“My doubt was how they could cope when the neg­a­tive mo­ment ar­rived. Some in­di­vid­u­als feel the pres­sure too much.

“I know what is in my hands, the im­prove­ment of the team and in­di­vid­u­als. I have to try to stop de­fen­sive mis­takes.

“I knew I had a task. It is tac­ti­cal but also men­tal. We have to im­prove, no doubt.”

Af­ter fall­ing be­hind to Eti­enne Capoue’s first-half opener, United equalised through Mar­cus Rash­ford and looked the more likely win­ners un­til de­fen­sive er­rors al­lowed Juan Camilo Zu­niga to fire Wat­ford ahead in the 83rd minute.

Troy Deeney’s stop­page-time penalty rubbed salt into United’s wounds, but it was United left-back Luke Shaw’s fail­ure to stop Wat­ford’s sec­ond that most frus­trated Mour­inho.

“Their sec­ond goal is a mis­take that goes against our plan and our train­ing be­cause our in­ten­tion was for their wing-backs to be pressed and not let them progress,” he said.

“And what hap­pened was the guy gets the ball 20-25 me­tres away from our box and in­stead of be­ing pressed, we give him the space to progress. [Nordin] Am­ra­bat re­ceives the ball and our left-back [Shaw] is 25 me­tres from him in­stead of five.

“But even at 25 you have to jump and go and press, but no, we wait. It’s some­thing that doesn’t be­come per­fect in a cou­ple of weeks. So we have to im­prove, no doubt, in­di­vid­u­ally and col­lec­tively.”

Mour­inho was un­able to con­firm if French winger An­thony Mar­tial suf­fered a con­cus­sion in a first-half col­li­sion with Wat­ford’s Daryl Jan­maat.

Mar­tial even­tu­ally came off hold­ing his head af­ter los­ing pos­ses­sion just be­fore Wat­ford’s first half and Mour­inho crit­i­cised ref­eree Michael Oliver for fail­ing to give a free-kick.

“You don’t ask me about that if you think that noth­ing hap­pened,” Mour­inho said.

“The ref­eree’s cru­cial mis­takes are not in my con­trol. There is noth­ing I can do about that.”

Wat­ford boss Wal­ter Maz­zarri could have been for­given for rev­el­ling in Mour­inho’s prob­lems af­ter the pair clashed when they were man­agers in Serie A.

But the Ital­ian was hap­pier that the im­pres­sive per­for­mance proved his meth­ods can work in the Pre­mier League.

“I’m pleased for my play­ers. Most of all I’m happy be­cause this will give us con­fi­dence. It means my work is hav­ing an im­pact,” he said.

“We were bet­ter than them and de­served the points. We pre­pared the game very well. We stud­ied them all week.” –

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