JOSE AND THE EUROPA DOPES; Mourinho Men Made to Look So Ordinary

Daily Mail (London), September 16, 2016 | Go to article overview

JOSE AND THE EUROPA DOPES; Mourinho Men Made to Look So Ordinary


Byline: CHRIS WHEELER reports from the De Kuip stadium

FEYENOORD Vilhena 79 1

MAN UTD 0

THAT'S the trouble with honesty. Jose Mourinho said Manchester United don't really want to be in the Europa League and his team played like it in Rotterdam last night.

A turgid performance was punished with a second defeat in the space of six days; not as painful as the Manchester derby, perhaps, but it was another reality check for the United manager.

Mourinho made eight changes to the team beaten by Manchester City and gave five players their first start of the season. It's fair to say that noone in blue did themselves any favours.

Marcus Rashford has been blazing a trail through English football since announcing his arrival in this competition nearly seven months ago, but he departed after 63 minutes having given plenty of effort but with little to show for it.

Anthony Martial continues to search in vain for the spark that lit up his first season at Old Trafford. Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo were poor replacements at full back for Antonia Valencia and Luke Shaw -- left at home with Wayne Rooney to prepare for the trip to Watford on Sunday.

Paul Pogba looked ordinary again and Juan Mata and Ander Herrera struggled to rouse United from a flat performance that improved only marginally after the break.

Mourinho was not wrong when he complained that Tonny Vilhena's winner 11 minutes from time came at a point when United were enjoying one of their better periods.

'We were trying to win, they were trying not to lose,' said Mourinho. And precisely in the moment we were feeling they were collapsing, it's exactly in that moment that we lose the game -- and doubly unlucky because he was offside.' He was referring to Nicolai Jorgensen, whose low cross enabled Vilhena to drill the winner past David de Gea from 15 yards.

The De Kuip Stadium erupted. It was hard to believe that Feyenoord had chopped their capacity in half for the night to avoid crowd trouble which might invoke further sanctions from UEFA.

One of the more boisterous venues in European football rejoiced at United's demise as Mourinho and his players left the field to the sound of You'll Never Walk Alone. It is not only Dirk Kuyt and goalkeeper Brad Jones who bring a Liverpool flavour to the Dutch league leaders. If United had displayed a degree of apathy towards the Europa League, Feyenoord positively embraced it here and perhaps that was the main difference.

They started well and De Gea was twice called into action by the impressive Karim El Ahmadi and Vilhena after Chris Smalling had blocked an effort from Kuyt.

It took United 17 minutes to threaten the Feyenoord goal as Paul Pogba curled a 20-yard freekick over the wall towards the top corner only to see Jones pluck it easily out of the air.

Martial then drilled a shot wide from Darmian's cross but the Frenchman wasn't the only one struggling for United and they could easily have fallen behind five minutes before half time.

Terence Kongolo cut inside Darmian far too easily and squared the ball for Jens Toonstra, who should have done better than blaze a first-time effort over the bar. Mourinho said: 'I think in the first half we did not have an especially ambitious attitude. I'm not saying bad, but not with the ambition you need to win. 'We were not trying to win, we were just in control.

'In the second half they answered to my words at half time. We had more intensity.' He resisted the temptation to make changes until just past the hour, moments after El Ahmadi went close with a low, 25-yard effort that fizzed wide of De Gea's right post. …

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