Mourinho UEFA

Good Defending ‘Not a Crime’ After Man Utd’s Benfica Win – Jose Mourinho

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho hit back at his detractors following the Red Devils’ 1-0 win over Benfica in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, telling reporters being a strong defensive team is “not a crime.”

The Premier League giants barely threatened an out-of-form Benfica team and scored their only goal when 18-year-old goalkeeper Mile Svilar―making his Champions League debut―carried a free-kick from Marcus Rashford across his own goal line.

Per the Press Association (h/t Daily Mail), Mourinho made it clear he was satisfied with his team’s performance after the match:

“We were the team that was positive and we were always in control. I never felt that we could concede a goal, we were very solid defensively―sometimes I feel that to be good defensively is a crime, but it is not a crime.

“To be good defensively is one step to get results. We knew the Benfica pressure could not stay for 90 minutes.

“The amazing defensive work Liverpool did against us, Benfica could not do that for the whole game. Without any pressure, we knew the goal would arrive.

“We have nine points, we are basically one point from qualifying and one victory away from winning the group. A good game, solid.”

Per the report, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was among many who criticised Mourinho for his team’s defensive approach in their match against the Reds. The two rivals played out a drab goalless draw over the weekend.

United have conceded only two goals in eight Premier League matches this season and sit in second place, behind Manchester City. In Europe, they’ve conceded once in three matches and have one leg in the next round after three straight wins.

The Red Devils’ results have been excellent, even if their style of play hasn’t always been exciting. United have scored the second-most goals in the Premier League, but they have done most of their damage against lesser teams and usually play cautiously against title contenders.

Mourinho has had a reputation for coaching defensive-minded teams for years, however, as long as the results stay positive, he likely won’t care too much what others think of his style.

United’s next outing will be at Huddersfield―who haven’t won in the Premier League since August―before contests against Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur, all in the span of seven days.

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