Manchester United dominated Hull City today, on their way to winning 2-0 at home in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg, but it wasn’t enough. United could have done a lot more and played much better, especially when you consider they were facing the side that’s currently 20th out of 20 in the Premier League table.
United’s advantages over the Tigers read as follows: shots 21-6, expected goals 2.7-0.3, possession 67%-33% and completed passes 625-258.
However, they started slow and didn’t score until the 56′, on a strike by Juan Mata that capped his man of the match performance.
Manager Jose Mourinho knows that they’ll be have to be much much better in their next match, which is also in front of the home folks, against second place Liverpool in league play. Taking on the arch-rivals is the absolute “circle the date on the calendar” match of all home matches in any given season.
Mourinho took part ownership in his postgame press conference:
“Maybe I didn’t do my job well to prepare players for the game. Maybe I should bring more tension to the dynamic, preparing the game.”
“The players have to improve, I have to improve and the fans also have to improve for a big match on Sunday. Today our performance was good enough to win but, on Sunday, we all have to improve.”
United will host their bitter rivals in a Sunday matinee clash on January 15th. In the Anfield leg in October, the two teams played to an extremely dull goalless draw, so this one can only increase in entertainment value. Mourinho hopes to give the crowd plenty of reason to get fired up.
“I always think we are responsible for the fans’ participation in the game. It’s our responsibility,” Mourinho continued.
“If we play well and enthusiastically, the fans come on to the pitch. When we don’t play so well, and not with emotion and intensity, it’s normal for the fans to relax a bit.”
Getting back to the EFL Cup, for some reason this not exactly entirely necessary competition requires a second leg. It will be played January 24th at Hull City.
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, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks