EPL 2016-17: Manchester United bossed the game while Liverpool played defensively, claims Jose Mourinho
Every fixture between Liverpool and Manchester United, the North-West rivals, is awaited with bated breath as football fans all over the world know what exactly this mammoth fixture brings. However, the latest episode of the North-West derby was a dour affair as both teams shared points in a goalless draw in the Premier League.
Although Manchester United had a good first half, they were happy to sit back and defend deep after the break. The Red Devils’ manager, Jose Mourinho, in typical fashion, hit back at critics who claimed that it was he who made the match a boring one and shifted blame to his Liverpool counterpart, Jurgen Klopp.
When asked by the media regarding Man United's lowest ever possession stats in the English Premier League (EPL), Mourinho was quick to point out that it was not him and in fact, it was Klopp who was more negative.
“Look last season United won here, Liverpool had 14 shots on target and United had one. How many shots on target did Liverpool have today, Two? So two shots with 65 percent possession - you have to be critical because that's their problem, it's not our problem,” Mourinho noted.
The three-time EPL title-winning manager substantiated his claims of Klopp being defensive by stating that Liverpool playing with two holding midfielders was made out of fear of Man United's threat from counter attacks.
“They played Can and Henderson for some reason (sitting) and they did that for 90 mins. They normally project more players in attack but they were very cautious. You like to say they are the eighth wonder in [of] the world as an attacking team, but they are also a team who defends and like to think defensively, with two in there.
“I think it was their intention to try and control us. But we controlled the game tactically, and we controlled the game emotionally,” Mourinho said.
Klopp unhappy with long ball United
Klopp, on the other hand, was critical of Mourinho's long-ball style and told reporters that he was not surprised with Man United's defensive approach.
“We knew there would be a lot of high balls, and it was difficult to defend with Fellaini and Pogba there with Ibrahimovic.
"It was one thing they wanted to do for sure, and being a very physical strong team was another. Ok, they may be a little bit better stronger physically than we were,” he said.
Incidentally, this was only the second time that a Premier League match between Liverpool and Man United ended in a goalless draw. The last time it happened was in September 2005. The last time that Liverpool failed to score in a home league game was during the same fixture 10 months ago, when Louis van Gaal's men won 1-0.
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