Football: Mourinho slams 'awful defence'

LONDON • Jose Mourinho admitted he was the “luckiest manager in the Premier League” as Manchester United recovered from a disastrous defensive display to beat Bournemouth 2-1 yesterday.

Marcus Rashford’s stoppage-time strike ended the hosts’ unbeaten home record as United came back to record a second straight victory.

They rode their luck at times against a free-flowing Bournemouth, who carved open the United defence three times in a 60-second spell before taking an 11th-minute lead through Callum Wilson.

But Anthony Martial’s fifth goal in as many games and Rashford’s intervention off the bench were enough to secure the three points.

Mourinho was infuriated with a sloppy first half, saying: “It was the whole first half. I said at half-time I was the luckiest manager in the Premier League in a half when the score should be like 6-2.

“We were defensively awful. As a team, we didn’t press or do any of the work we did in the week.”

In the absence of Romelu Lukaku, who picked up an injury in training on Friday, Alexis Sanchez got his first league start since the draw against Wolves six weeks ago, leaving Rashford on the bench in the week the England striker celebrated his 21st birthday. It was the only change from the side that defeated Everton.

But the visitors looked lethargic in attack until midway through the half, when Sanchez started to make his presence felt.

It was the Chile international’s persistence that created the equaliser as he won the ball in the centre circle before linking up with Ashley Young on the right to lay the ball on a platter for Martial.

Bournemouth, who had accumulated 11 points from their five previous home matches, refused to lie down and would have retaken the lead had it not been for two important saves from David de Gea. The second stop, five minutes into the second half, was an outstanding reaction to a clever flick from David Brooks, a boyhood United fan.

At the other end, Mourinho had clearly seen enough and threw on Rashford and Ander Herrera in place of Juan Mata and the ineffective Fred. The switch seemed to have the desired effect as United started to dominate possession.

Yet a miraculous goal-line block by Nathan Ake from Rashford’s shot after Young’s free kick hit the woodwork hinted that it might not be their day. Paul Pogba failed to convert the rebound, with Brooks clearing off the line.

It took a rare mistake from the outstanding Ake for Rashford to pounce and slam home the winner.

Said Mourinho: “I can’t understand why we started slow. My coaches said it was the best warm-up of the season.

“I think a few mistakes create instability. I love the song, ‘attack, attack, attack’ but you need to have stability when you lose the ball.

“It happened again against a good team but we were prepared for everything. I really can’t understand the kind of mentality that brings me more white hair.”


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