Manchester United coasted to a 3-0 win at home over St. Etienne in the first leg of their Europa League tie. The Red Devils weren’t especially brilliant, but they did benefit from some luck in getting a Zlatan Ibrahimovic hat trick. Ibra was both lucky and good, and now the Red Devils are in excellent position to advance to the UEL round of 16.
United Manager Jose Mourinho was unhappy though at half time. He treated his players to a spirited half time rant, in which he dressed them all down as being “too noisy, too funny, too relaxed.” The Portugese believed his team to be lacking focus, and this could be a reoccurring problem as United remain alive and kicking in four different competitions.
Mourinho’s side is caught up in a fierce battle for the top four, almost certain to advance in the Europa League, playing for the league Cup final in nine days and in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
“I had a feeling in the dressing room immediately it was too noisy, too funny, too relaxed,” Mourinho said after the game.
“Then my assistants had a feeling in the warm up that some of the guys were not really focused on getting the right adrenalin in their bodies. Then the game started and the first thing we did was a back pass to a striker to be face-to-face with Sergio (Romero). So a lack of concentration and when you don’t have it, it’s difficult to recover it.
“I could tell from the touchline that it was difficult and I needed the communication at half-time. We were lucky to be 1-0 up at half-time, but second half was a different story and a different result. I know that Champions League is the competition everyone wants to win, I know that. But we don’t play Champions League, we play Europa League.” (transcript of quotations via the Irish Independent)
“If we don’t play Champions League, I would rather play Europa League than to sit at home and watch TV. We had this in the group stages. When we needed to win, we did it. When the focus is there, we answer and in the first half, we were too relaxed.”
Mourinho going hard-line, tough love with his team on Thursday.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times and Bold, contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication, CGTN America, WGN CLTV News and KOZN.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks