Mourinho on dropping Pogba, “quiet” Old Trafford

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Jose Mourinho likened breaking down Huddersfield Town to knocking down the Berlin Wall.

Manchester United beat the Terriers 2-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday, but had to wait for the second half to get their breakthrough.

Romelu Lukaku volleyed home the opener and Alexis Sanchez scored the second, his first United goal, as his penalty kick was saved but he knocked home the rebound.

Speaking to the media after the game, here’s what Mourinho had to say about a tough win.

“We always had control of the game, but at half time it was 0-0. I guess we had around 85% possession in the first half but it was not enough,” Mourinho said. “We kept doing the same in the second and even at 1-0 we were totally in control. Our defensive line as far from the danger areas. We had to be patient but had to keep the intensity high and the pressure. We had to break down the Berlin wall organised so well by David Wagner.”

With United dominant, Mourinho urged the home fans to make more noise to make Old Trafford a more intimidating atmosphere.

“Old Trafford is a quiet stadium. It is not Portsmouth. Here the atmosphere is a bit quiet. The players they like to play at home,” Mourinho added.

 

United had 74 percent of the possession and 16 shots to Huddersfield’s four, with Mourinho getting a response from Paul Pogba who was superb when he came off the bench after being dropped following the 2-0 defeat at Tottenham in midweek.

“I changed a few players. It wasn’t to punish anyone. If it was about punishing I would be punished too because we are a team,” Mourinho said. “Pogba is a fantastic player. One of most talented in the world. To sit on the bench one day is not the worst thing in the world.”

Mourinho also said it was “nice” to see Sanchez score his first goal for United and recapped an emotional day for the club as commemorations were held to mark the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster.

“It is important for the bad reasons (Munich air disaster) but the memories stay. The club looks at the date and event as a key moment in the history of the club. It is nice to do that playing at home and winning,” Mourinho said.

Mourinho’s mind games continue as he conceded the Premier League to Man City in his press conference on Friday, but United’s manager now sees his side just 13 points behind City as they strengthened their grip on a top four finish.

Rochdale 2-2 Tottenham: Davies stuns Spurs late

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A valiant effort from a League One side has rewarded the minnows with a replay set to be played at Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur looked on its way towards the FA Cup sixth round on Sunday, but a late finish by Steven Davies gave Rochdale a 2-2 draw with the Premier League club at the Spotland Stadium.

[ MORE: Willian stars as Chelsea routs Hull in FA Cup ]

Harry Kane — who scored his 34th goal on the season in all competitions — converted from the penalty spot in the 88th minute, however, Davies had the final say deep into stoppage time to send the two sides towards a replay.

Ian Henderson’s finish in the 45th minute gave Rochdale a gift at the conclusion of the first stanza, after the hosts capitalized on a Spurs giveaway near midfield.

Meanwhile, Tottenham managed to level the match at 1-1 on the hour mark when Lucas Moura calmly slotted his close-range shot past goalkeeper Josh Lillis after a timely through ball from Moussa Sissoko picked out the former PSG man.

The visitors began pressing on in the second half, with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side having trailed at the halftime break.

The two sides will now meet on either Feb. 27 or 28 in the reverse fixture to decide which team advances. The winner will either meet Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea City in the quarterfinals.

Scholes: Pogba didn’t earn Man United spot in 2012 before Juve stint

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Paul Pogba‘s young career has been bright, but a former Manchester United legend suggests that there was a time where the Frenchman struggled to find his way at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Man United draws Brighton, Chelsea gets Leicester in FA Cup quarters

The 24-year-old Pogba is now in his second stint with the Red Devils, after spending four seasons in Italy with giants Juventus.

Former United midfielder Paul Scholes says though that back in 2012 — prior to Pogba’s move to Juve — that the physical player wasn’t pleased with the fact that he wasn’t getting regular minutes with the first team.

“Ferguson wanted me initially to come back and coach the reserve team with Warren Joyce,” he told BT Sport. “I said in September I’d come back. So I started helping Joycey, and I was training with the reserves.

“I was training every day with the likes of Pogba, Lingard, all these types of players. They were a really good side and I was really enjoying training. I was getting fit, I felt great, and it got to December time and the team was struggling a bit.

“They had a load of injuries, no central midfield players were fit. They ended up playing Phil Jones and Fabio da Silva in central midfield in a game against Blackburn at Old Trafford.

“Funnily enough that was the end of Pogba, because he thought he should have been playing instead of them. But he wasn’t doing well enough.”

Scholes, who had retired briefly in 2011, came back after just six months for the Red Devils, and ended up playing a year-and-a-half more following the decision to end his playing career.

It is widely believed that Pogba’s decision to head to Juventus was largely due to the impact of Scholes in the United squad.

Video: Rochdale puts Tottenham on upset alert at the half

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It’s been a tremendous season for Ian Henderson, particularly in the FA Cup, and now he and his side are one half away from upsetting one of the Premier League giants.

Henderson’s finish on the brink of halftime has put League One side Rochdale up 1-0 against Tottenham Hotspur, as the minnows aim to become the first non-PL side to advance to the quarterfinals in this season’s tournament.

A sloppy giveaway from Spurs near midfield created the attack for the hosts, and allowed Rochdale to capitalize on one of its few attacks during the opening stanza.

Benfica routs Boavista 4-0 to take lead in Portugal

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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Benfica routed Boavista 4-0 to move ahead of FC Porto at the top of the Portuguese league on Saturday.

Benfica is one point in front of Porto, which has two games to play.

[ MORE: Man United gets Brighton in FA Cup quarters, Chelsea draws Leicester ]

Ruben Dias opened the scoring for Benfica in the 18th minute when he headed in a pass from Jardel.

Jardel added a goal just before halftime. Boavista’s Nuno Henrique also scored an own goal before Raul Jimenez polished off the victory in the 90th.

Jonas had a penalty saved by Boavista goalkeeper Vagner with the score 0-0.

Porto hosts Rio Ave on Sunday. Sporting Lisbon is three points behind Benfica before visiting Tondela on Monday.