Manchester United cruised past St. Etienne 3-0 at Old Trafford thanks to a hat-trick from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, bringing a sizeable lead into the second leg in France.
However, manager Jose Mourinho wasn’t pleased with the performance. Not at all.
“The first half we played so bad,” Mourinho said. “We managed to finish the first half winning 1-0 and we didn’t deserve [it].”
It’s a harsh assessment from Mourinho, but the boss is right. The Red Devils were forced to defend frantically on multiple occasions, with defender Eric Bailly providing a number of important blocks despite seeing himself beaten by visiting attackers. Nolan Roux missed a fabulous chance for the French side late, adding to United’s frustrations for letting him free.
One Manchester United player who had a fabulous match was Paul Pogba, who played well despite a poor finishing on the attacking end. Even so, Mourinho was caught screaming at Pogba for a back-pass towards the end of the first half instead of pushing play forward like the manager wanted.
Mourinho was even frustrated with the calm demeanor before the match, wishing his players would focus better.
On the other end, Ibrahimovic’s hat-trick wasn’t the prettiest he’s ever scored, getting goals on a deflected free-kick, a tap-in after great work by Marcus Rashford, and a soft penalty in the dying minutes.
Mourinho said after the match that he will start a strong side against Blackburn in the FA Cup on Sunday.