A vital point and performance at Anfield for Jose Mourinho
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on October 18, 2016
Going into the game at Anfield the tide was against Manchester United and Jose Mourinho. Pundits heaping praise onto Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and their style of play and equally lambasting Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, even United legends such as Paul Scholes were hurling criticism at Jose Mourinho just two months into the season. Everyone expected an easy game for Liverpool which was illuminated with the over confidence of the Liverpool fans and players alike such as Sadio Mane. However, they all forgot one thing, Jose Mourinho is a big game manager and there is nothing he loves more than going against the tide and ruining the party. Manchester United were expected to roll over like Arsenal did against Liverpool and let the Liverpool bandwagon roll on but a Mourinho masterclass ensured that wouldn’t happen.
Everyone who follows football knows that Liverpool’s greatest strength is the high press. The pressing between the midfield and defensive lines can prove fatal as Liverpool have shown against several teams since Klopp took over at Anfield. Going to Anfield and trying to retain the ball would have been foolhardy as it would play right into Liverpool’s hands. As Burnley showed on match day two against Liverpool, sitting back and sacrificing possession takes away Liverpool’s ability to press high and by doing that you take away the majority of their attacking threats. It was purely common sense from Jose Mourinho to sacrifice the possession in this game and it was the perfect tactic if United were to get anything from the game.
Manchester United had 35% of the ball in the game, the lowest they’ve recoded in the Premier League era. Although that can prove a false account of what happened in the game. Manchester United were positive in the way they pressed Liverpool when they had the ball forcing them back up the pitch into their own half which really frustrated the Anfield crowd throughout the game and was a measure of how well United were doing at forcing Liverpool into mistakes and not letting them have it their own way. This was shown when the pressing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba at goal kicks led to Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius passing the ball straight to Paul Pogba but poor decision making from Pogba meant nothing came of the mistake. Offensively United could have done a bit better but arguably the best chance of the game fell to United and Zlatan Ibrahimovic but the Swede made a mess of the chance. If that chance was converted it would have been game over because Liverpool did not look like being able to break United down.
Jose Mourinho will have learnt a great deal about his players after the performance at Anfield. The 11 players on the pitch were able to execute a typical Mourinho plan to perfection which will have pleased him greatly. It shows that Mourinho has been able to drive a grit and dogged determination into his players which was lacking last season and will be vital going into the run of games over the next month. The game showed that Ander Herrera who was man of the match should be a definite starter in this team. Herrera’s energy from box to box was a driving force for United throughout the game, Herrera does look to be a player who will thrive under Jose Mourinho.
The point and performance will give Manchester United a big boost going into a tricky run of games. It shows that Jose Mourinho has still got his edge that many thought was gone and that performance will prove boosting to the Manchester United manager. As fans there is absolutely no reason to doubt Jose Mourinho. Fans need to accept that it will take time for Mourinho to turn United into a force again but the performance at Anfield should give a lot of confidence that this team is becoming a Jose Mourinho team.