Kieran McKenna, Jose Mourinho and Michael Carrick.

Key quotes: Mourinho assesses Valencia loss

Wednesday 12 December 2018 22:00

Jose Mourinho felt that his Manchester United side improved in the second half as the Reds fell to a defeat in our final Champions League group-stage match.

The Reds fell behind to a strike from Carlos Soler before a Phil Jones own goal after the break left Mourinho's men with a mountain to climb. Marcus Rashford gave the travelling support some hope just before the end when he headed in Ashley Young's cross, however it ended up being a disappointing night in Spain for the Reds.

Speaking to BT Sport, MUTV and at his press conference after the game, the manager assessed the players' performance, plus the group phase as a whole and looked ahead to Monday's draw for the knockout stage.

"I thought we were too passive in the first half. Quite comfortable with the ball, but not with intensity and ambition and then, in the second half, I was pretty sure that after speaking at half-time, things could be different in the second half. But we started the second half with an own goal that gave Valencia a better position to control the game. I made the two changes later and the team improved immediately and we started playing faster, arriving with link play in more dangerous positions. We got to 2-1, probably we should get the 2-2, because we had a couple of important chances to equalise. But I think fundamentally this, we wasted the first half playing too comfortable and not enough with the intensity."

Mourinho: 'We needed more intensity' Video

Mourinho: 'We needed more intensity'

The boss gives his thoughts on the Valencia game and the last 16 draw...

"Job done. In a difficult group. I don't think we were brilliant in this group phase, but we got enough points to qualify. We got enough points with the squad we have and the problems we have and the dangers we have. We managed to come here tonight and to be already qualified.

"Before the group, if you told me we’re going to qualify in second, I would say ‘yes’. Good, great. Juventus had to be favourites and Valencia are a very tricky and difficult opponent. I would say immediately, of course, ‘yes’ but after the two victories in Juventus and at home to Young Boys, we put ourselves in the situation where we had the chance to finish first. Which I don’t think is super-important. There are so many good teams who are going to finish second and give difficult draws to people who won the groups. Because of the feeling we came here today with, I think we didn’t play bad at all but we need a little bit more."

"Normally, I’m not the luckiest guy in the draws but, as I was saying now, the best 16 teams in Europe and there are six possibilities. I think an English club [Tottenham] and Juventus are in this draw, plus the six clubs who are top in Europe, but Old Trafford will enjoy getting one of the biggest clubs in Europe for a big match in the last 16."


"No. Maybe you did? [to reporters] Not me. I didn't learn anything from this game. Nothing that happened surprised me." 

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