Jose Mourinho has defended his tactical setup for Manchester United in its draw vs. Sevilla in the Champions League.

By 90Min
February 22, 2018

Jose Mourinho has vehemently defended Manchester United's tactics following hefty criticism after their 0-0 draw in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie against Sevilla on Wednesday. 

The Red Devils were lambasted for their defensive approach in Spain having registered just six shots in comparison to their opponent's 25, with David de Gea's heroics at the end of the first half ensuring the tie balances on the return leg at Old Trafford on March 13. 

With increasing suggestion that Mourinho is limiting his attackers natural flair with defensive instructions, the United boss hit back at his critics as he defended his tactics in the first leg when asked if Alexis Sanchez was a player who appreciated a defined position rather than taking up a free role.

"I think you are all, or many of you, are in a new sport! In England, some guys say the wingers shouldn't defend," Mourinho told Sky Sports

"The next time I see David Beckham I'm going to ask him: 'David, when you were playing right wing at Manchester United, when the opposition left back attacked, do you stay looking at the stands? Or do you come back with the guy?' I'm going to ask David that.

"And everybody knows that I'm not big friends with Roy Keane or Paul Scholes, but I will ask them: 'When your team lost the ball, did you drop back? Or did you stay walking on the pitch?'

"Because now it looks like all the good players have to play free, and when the team has the ball, which I think is such a stupid thing to say. When a team has the ball, you attack. When the team does not have the ball, you defend.

"It's as simple as that, but it looks like now some guys are creating a new sport. But I still don't see it, because the winning teams, the top teams in the world now, not 10 years ago or 20 or 30, the top teams now, everybody works. Everybody has tactical discipline," he added.

While Mourinho appeared to be irritated for much of his post match duties following the goalless draw, he did insist the result was fair whilst also taking time to praise the efforts of Scott McTominay who stepped up to the challenge in place of the out of favor Paul Pogba. 

Mourinho said: "The game was even, the stats are what they are. Sometimes you have 15 shots, but 13 of them were what I call 'statistic shots'. So I really feel that the result reflects what the game was.

"I think Scott McTominay looked like a man with dozens and dozens of matches in the Champions League, when this is only his second.

"He had a fantastic performance, he looked a senior player, he looked a player with great maturity, with tactical sense, with a sense of responsibility, good in possession, good in the pressing."

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