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Mourinho’s Manchester United misfire once more in Valencia stalemate

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho shrugged off more criticism of his style after another insipid attacking display in a 0-0 draw at home to Valencia in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The home fans chanted for Mourinho’s men to attack more in the second-half and former United midfielder Paul Scholes claimed the Portuguese coach is embarrassing the club with repeated outbursts at his players in the media.

“I’m not interested. Freedom of speech, free country, you can say what you like,” said Mourinho of Scholes’s comments.

“Freedom of speech, especially for Man Utd fans that I respect 100 percent.”

Already nine points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City and Liverpool after three defeats in seven league games, Mourinho was hoping for a reaction from Saturday’s dreadful display in losing 3-1 to West Ham United.

“I’m actually slightly surprised that he survived after Saturday, the performance was that bad,” Scholes told BT Sport.

“He’s coming out in press conferences and he’s constantly having a go at players, he’s having a go at people above him because he’s not getting what he wants.

“I think his mouth is probably out of control and I think he’s embarrassing the club.”

United again looked devoid of ideas and invention to draw a blank and fall two points behind Group H leaders Juventus with two games against the Italian champions to come.

A point does at least consolidate United’s position three points ahead of Valencia in second place.

United’s night got off to a bad start before the game even began as kick-off was delayed by five minutes after the hosts were held up by traffic. Mourinho blamed a refusal by the police to offer an escort to the team bus rather than the club’s organisation for the problem.

“We left the hotel at six o’clock hoping that 30 minutes would be enough, which normally it is. But this time the police refused to do a escort so we come by ourselves and we took 75 minutes,” he added.

Sanchez subbed

Mourinho recalled Alexis Sanchez, who had not even made the bench for Saturday’s defeat, among four changes from the weekend.

But the Chilean again disappointed before being replaced 15 minutes from time.

In a recurring theme of United’s decline over the past few months there seemed little cohesive attacking plan other than a series of long balls hurled towards Romelu Lukaku.

But Mourinho claimed he does not have the players to play more intricate attacking football.

“We don’t have the technical quality to build from the back,” added Mourinho.

“We knew we wouldn’t create 20 chances. Our attacking players aren’t in their best moments of confidence and individual level.

“We thought with three or four chances we would score and win the game.”

Valencia registered their first win of the Spanish season at the seventh attempt at Real Sociedad on Saturday, but the Spaniards’ struggles to score goals were also obvious despite enjoying plenty of possession.

“We created chances, but we lacked the final pass and finish to earn a victory against a very powerful team,” said Valencia coach Marcelino.

Goncalo Guedes enjoyed most of Valencia’s openings, but fired off target when well-placed on the edge of the area and miscontrolled when clean through on goal in the second-half.

The home faithful tried to rouse their side after the break with chants of “attack, attack, attack”.

However, United were most dangerous from set-pieces as Marcus Rashford clipped the crossbar from a free-kick and Lukaku headed a corner over when unmarked.

© Agence France-Presse

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Kieran Canning
Kieran Canning
Football correspondent for Agence France Presse in London. Still a follower of all things Spanish football. Views here are my own

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