Manchester United beat Basel 3-0 at Old Trafford in the Champions League group stages but Mourinho was unhappy with some passages of play.
The Red Devils kicked off their Champions League campaign in style with a convincing win over their Swiss opponents. Mourinho however, feels that his Manchester United team started to gamble a bit once Lukaku grabbed the second goal to reassure his fellow teammates of a result.
“After 2-0 I think everything changed and we stopped to play, stopped to think, stopped to play seriously. We stopped to make the right decisions on the pitch and we could put ourselves in trouble.” said the Portuguese tactician.
Mourinho continued abrasively, “Bad decisions, fantasy football, PlayStation football, tricks and when you stopped to play as a team and when you stopped to play seriously I don’t like and you gamble a little bit. The players probably felt that the game was under control with the 2-0 but football is football and you have to respect your opponent.”.
The Manchester United manager was correct in his assessment and was sending a warning shot to his team to respect future opponents because top sides will hurt them for complacency or silly mistakes. Against Basel, the Red Devils did make unforced errors and could’ve easily been punished for them on a different night.
Luckily it was Rashford who punished the Swiss side’s poor defending to give United the third goal and a sense of security about the result. The cliche that 2-0 is a dangerous result is truer in today’s football than any other time. So called underdog teams have countlessly hit back at favourites who thought they had the result in the bag.
Manchester United struggled last year against smaller teams, drawing games that should’ve been wins and the reason may stem from a lack of respect to the opponent. There are no more easy games. Football is getting increasingly competitive and smaller sides are consistently showing that you can fight your way to positive results.
Leicester City won the Premier League title almost entirely on sheer desire and fight alone. Top sides often host players who are there for the high wages and perhaps lack the passion for the game or even the club because of this. If Mourinho’s Manchester United want anything out of this season they will have to respect their opponents and fight to get their sought after results, otherwise it may be a sad season after all.