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|Goalkeeper, David De Gea And Fellaini Saved Man United – Jose Mourinho by starz: 11:49 am On November 28, 2018|
SLOW STARTS CONTINUE
Mourinho had stressed that it was not him encouraging his Manchester United players to start games with the handbrake on. He distanced himself from that particular problem, making it clear that, just like the supporters, he wanted to see his side start with more verve.
“They think ‘Jose told them to start slow’, ‘Jose told them to play nice and easy and wait to see what happens’ or ‘to be losing for then to react’. It is exactly the opposite. I want the team to start strong, I want the team to have a go immediately and it is a bit frustrating,” he said pre-match.
That may be the desire but United’s first-half record over the past two months tells the tale. In the 11 matches they have played during that period, Mourinho’s team have drawn a blank in nine of them and scored once in each of the other two games.
Fellaini delivers again
It is far from the first time that Fellaini has popped up with an important late goal. His last-gasp equaliser against Derby in the Carabao Cup counted for little when United were beaten anyway in the shootout, but he also produced the late winner over Arsenal at Old Trafford in April.
Rashford is wasteful
You need a thick skin to play under this manager,” Luke Shaw had said beforehand and when Rashford sees Mourinho’s very public display of disgust at his miss, one can only imagine how he will feel. It is not likely to improve his dwindling confidence.
De Gea to the rescue
De Gea had a difficult World Cup for Spain and has been a little short of his absolute best this season, not least because of the lack of protection ahead of him, but this was typical of his ability to come up with the saves that others simply do not.
It was the only one he had to make but who else could have made it? Mourinho called it a “phenomenal” save afterwards and he was right. Had De Gea let that one in and United had been denied the win, they would be going to Valencia needing to avoid defeat.
Hope for the future?
Instead, United are into the last 16 of the Champions League yet again. Mourinho has got the job done in Europe and will not have to worry about it again until February. It gives him the chance to focus on domestic matters and the task of moving up the Premier League table.
Southampton are the opponents at the weekend. It is a winnable game and victories breed confidence but, as Mourinho himself noted afterwards, problems remain. He will have to solve them if United are to gain any meaningful momentum from Fellaini’s late show.
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