Mourinho tirade triggers United rally

‘FAITH AND BELIEF’::The Portuguese coach admitted to being furious with a lethargic first-half performance, but praised his players’ urgency at the end of the match


Wed, Mar 07, 2018 - Page 16

Jose Mourinho revealed that an expletive-filled half-time rant inspired Manchester United’s dramatic 3-2 win over Crystal Palace on Monday.

Mourinho’s side fought back from two goals down at Selhurst Park to snatch the points thanks to Nemanja Matic’s blistering long-range strike in stoppage-time.

United trailed to goals from Andros Townsend and Patrick van Aanholt before Chris Smalling gave the visitors a lifeline.

Romelu Lukaku equalized with 14 minutes remaining, setting the stage for Serbia midfielder Matic to notch his first goal for United since his move from Chelsea last year.

Mourinho admitted that he was furious with his players’ lethargic first-half performance and he tore into them, while demanding that they show more tactical discipline.

“I cannot tell you half of the things I told my team at halftime, because there would be lots of bleeping on television,” Mourinho said. “There were a few strong words relating to their attitude and the intensity of the game.”

“What I can say was all about the tactical positioning. That second goal was a goal to show kids in academies around the country, to show that top players can concede silly goals,” he said. “David De Gea had to do better. He is the best, no doubt, but he had to do better”

“But the intensity and character was fantastic. We got a bit of luck in the last minute, but it was deserved,” Mourinho said. “The urgency in that last half-hour was huge.”

It was the first time United had come from 2-0 down to win a Premier League game since December 2013 at Hull City.

After hitting back from a goal down to beat Chelsea last weekend, Mourinho insisted this was another demonstration that United have the spirit and desire to overcome perilous predicaments.

“We were losing to Chelsea last week, then we were losing away from home against a Palace team that needs points,” he said. “It’s very hard, but we kept faith and belief.”

“I always believe we can win. I will be like that until my last day,” Mourinho said. “Some days more than others, but after Smalling’s goal, I always thought it was possible.”

“Matic scored amazing goals like this when he was with me at Chelsea, at Goodison Park, against [SL] Benfica,” he added.

United’s stirring revival moved them back above Liverpool into second place in the Premier League.

They trail runaway leaders Manchester City by 16 points, but Mourinho is more concerned with securing the top-four finish that guarantees qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League.

“We want to finish second, but it is huge pressure for us to finish in the top four. Now we have a little pillow,” he said.

Palace remain in the relegation zone, one point from safety, but Eagles boss Roy Hodgson urged his players not to let the heartbreaking defeat influence their fight for survival.

“We took the game to Manchester United. If we had drawn the game — I don’t think anyone, Jose included — would have said it was a scandal,” Hodgson said. “We once again go away with no points and, like the game against Tottenham [Hotspur], I thought we deserved something.”



An 89th-minute goal by midfielder Pablo Hernandez on Monday helped RC Celta de Vigo come from behind to beat relegation-threatened UD Las Palmas 2-1 in La Liga.

Celta moved up to ninth, not far from the clubs fighting for a UEFA Europa League spot next season.

Las Palmas stayed 18th in the 20-team standings. They are one point behind Levante UD, the first team outside the relegation zone.

Erik Exposito put Las Palmas ahead early in the second half at the Estadio Municipal de Balaidos in Vigo, but the hosts equalized thanks to Jonny Castro in the 62nd and got the late winner with Hernandez’s shot into the top corner from inside the area.

It was Celta’s second win in their past six matches.

Las Palmas held leaders Barcelona to a draw in the previous round, but have not won in five matches.