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Mourinho Blasts Manchester United Players First Half Performance

Jose Mourinho has publicly taken his players to task over what he called a ‘disaster’ of a first half in Manchester United’s narrow 2-1 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday.

An opening goal from Callum Wilson was well deserved for the Cherries, who dominated the lacklustre Red Devils for a full 45 minutes, albeit with Anthony Martial netting an equaliser before the break.

The second half saw a different side to United, however, as the visitors went from one shot on target in the first half to seven in the second, concluded with Marcus Rashford’s stoppage-time winner.

Mourinho, understandably, revealed to BT Sport after the match that he felt like the luckiest boss in the English top flight as his side went in tied at a goal apiece.

“Defensively awful. Absolutely awful,” the Portuguese said. “And when I say defensively I don’t just mean my defenders, I mean as a team.

“At half time I thought I was the luckiest manager in the Premier League because to be 1-1 in a half where it should be like 5-2 or 6-2, we were really lucky because we were really poor.

“We didn’t press… the work we did during the week – I feel like people watching this game won’t believe how hard we trained this week.

“The first half was a disaster. Then in the second half it was exactly the opposite. We created a lot of chances, we pressed higher, we had much more aggression, intensity, intention.

“We deserved to score before ninety-somethingth minute.”

Man Utd have been making something of a habit of starting slowly in matches, and Mourinho admitted he had to have some stern words with his players in order to achieve a result.

Still, he could not come up with an answer as to why it is taking the 20-time league champions so long to grow into games.

[I had] Strong words [at half time] but I was calm,” the 55-year-old went on. “I started by being positive, saying it was impossible to play worse so the second half was going to be better for sure and obviously it was.

“We performed much better as a team. I can’t understand.

“My assistant came to me and said we had the best warm-up of the season. Everyone was very focused, great intensity. It was also a phenomenal week of [pre-match] work.

“I can’t believe how badly we started.”

United are next in action against Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday before taking the Manchester derby next Sunday.