The Manchester United manager Mourinho, who has been a host in RT World Cup special has criticized Romelu Lukaku and his Belgium teammates, accusing them of “hiding” but congratulated United midfielder Paul Pogba who inspired his country into the World cup final after beating Belgium 1-0 with Umtiti header which made the difference in a fierce encounter in St Petersburg.
While speaking from an RT studio in Manchester, Mourinho explained that he (presumed a match that won’t produce many goals) claimed that the match could have been either 0-0 or 1-1, but Samul Umtiti’s 51st header was enough to see France to the final.
Jose Mourinho picked out Paul Pogba for praise, after a mature display from the Manchester United man but labeled some Belgium players for hiding in a match of such importance.
Jose Mourinho said, “That happened what we could expect one goal would win it, and one goal would create some reaction and that happened. More space for France to counterattack, more initiative from Belgium. But I think the Belgium players they go home with a bad feeling. A feeling that we could do more and better, a feeling that probably Hazard was out of it, because he tried absolutely everything. Many of the other players they kept hiding, and a little bit more in the last 20-25 minutes. But they are much better than that. And for me, big occasions, big players, and many of the players they were not there in the big occasion. France was good at the basic things of the game. They defended well, they were compact. They scored a goal that probably is Fellaini is the last man to touch it but they score and they try to control the game which basically they did. I think a very good performance by Pogba, Pogba was mature, we played with maturity when he had, to hold position and keep control of the play he did. When Deschamps took off Giroud to bring on N’Zonzi, then Pogba had more freedom but had freedom not to do silly things, he had freedom to keep the ball away from dangerous areas, to keep the ball, to assist Griezmann for a great chance, he was very very mature”.
It was an Antonio Griezmann’s corner that handed Umtiti the opportunity to head home the goal that made the difference, and his header was the 69th scored in a set piece at this world cup out of 158. Jose Mourinho hinted that set piece training is mostly fits the world cup outing.
The former Real Madrid manager continued, “Set pieces that are something that you can train without damage more of your physical conditions. And when you are in the comp like this where cumulation of fatigue counts, you have just to recover, the its very difficult to recover. Then you have the tactical situations, which create even more spending of energy, opening the door for more small injuries – so what can you train? Set plays,” the former Porto and Real Madrid coach said. You don’t run you don’t spend any of your energetic sources, you do it in a relaxed way, you do it as part of your recovering session and you go for the set pieces and you develop the set pieces and you become really dangerous on that then that can be in this case happen in the space between of Witsel and Fellaini. Umtiti attacks the ball very well in the space, but the most important thing is the serviсe and the service was fast, was exactly in that spot, and then Umtiti comes and between Umtiti and Fellaini they give no chance to Courtois”.
However, the United manager praised the France side who has most young contingents with the likes of Raphael Varane, Antoine Griezmann and Theo Hernandez, who participated at the last Euro 2016 and explained that with such momentum, France will reach more finals with this squad.
France will meet either England or Croatia in the final on Sunday, after the other semi-final today between the two Nations. Jose Mourinho believes England will raring to go all the way to qualify for the finals.
Mourinho said, “I think England is fresher, has younger players, had a easy group phase, where they play two easy match and the match against Belgium they change every player. So the players that are playing now they all had one match less than Croatia to play, I think Croatia has a great mentality, a fantastic midfield player to control the game and the possession of the game but England is a happy team, is a team you look at them and you see happiness, is a team that they went from even candidate to candidate and I just hope that they are themselves and not like Belgium that the majority of the players were not themselves. In big matches you have to be yourself or a bit better”.
Meanwhile, England will be looking to reach their first final match away from home since winning the tournament in 1966 at their backyard, while Croatia who will see themselves in their first ever world cup finals if they eventually win England after making two semi-finals in their history.