Mourinho explains tactical masterclass to beat Chelsea

Date published: Monday 26th February 2018 9:43

Jose Mourinho has explained the intricacies of his tactical masterclass against Chelsea.

Manchester United came from behind to beat Premier League champions Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday.

You can read 16 Conclusions on the game, but Mourinho himself offered slightly more insight himself post-match.

The Portuguese went into the minutiae of his tactics against the Blues, from Alexis Sanchez “mission”, to the “midfield square”.

“The mission Alexis had, to be the third attacking player but at the same time the fourth midfield player to try to cover the area in front of Scott. I think everyone made a big effort,” Mourinho said.

“Us managers always want the perfection. We are the best with the pen and the paper when we define our gameplan and define mode of play, we are all the best and everything is perfect.

“Then on the pitch things are a little bit different. Today we decide to play against them with four at the back, not five, and to play with four at the back the work of Scott and Matic was absolutely crucial in the control of Hazard and Willian positions and even so we are not perfect because they are phenomenal players.

“And then we needed Paul and Alexis to give us some balance in front of them. So the players took a little bit of time to adapt to it and I’m really happy from that. They were intelligent and understood the change of Lingard and the change of Eric Bailly when Antonio brought [Olivier] Giroud to play with [Alvaro] Morata, because he was making the change Giroud for Morata.

“But when we scored he had time to change and to play with both in the middle and you can imagine they are two fantastic strikers, so we have also to adapt and progressively the players were understanding the changes. I’m really happy, great attitude too.

“You can only win against the top teams with that humble attitude. We can be speaking about tactics and positions and football science but I think to win against the big teams – and it happens when other teams beat us like Newcastle – the attitude has to be really special and the players showed that.

“The beginning of the game was blue, we took a little bit of time to adapt to some new positions on the pitch the way we were playing the players in the midfield square. They took a little bit of time to find the right timings to press [N’Golo] Kante and [Danny] Drinkwater, and [Antonio] Rudiger was bringing the ball into our midfield.

“But then we found that balance and in the second-half the team was solid and felt more comfortable to go into attacking areas, and of course without creating lots of chances, because against Chelsea that’s not possible, we create a a few and we score the winning goal that in the end we deserved.”


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