Thankfully Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United tasted victory at frozen Odessa ground
Well Jose Mourinho’s complain list is not going to last, but thankfully his side journey in Europe League didn’t last as well. Manchester United tasted a 2-0 victory against Zorya Luhansk, at frozen Odessa ground, which allowed Red Devils to reach into the top 32 of the Europa League. United needed a victory against Luhansk to stay in the competition after losing against Feynoord & Fernabache playing away. Twelve hour before the kick-off, Manchester boss was furious on Uefa decision to allow his side to play in Ukraine in mid-December. But, his side kept their calm and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored his first goal for the club to give United lead, before Zlatan Ibrahimovic sealed the victory for them in 88th minute.
Mourinho didn’t left Uefa alone, as he complained about the pitch. He said in his pre-match interview,“They are putting some warmth on it, but it’s very difficult and people cannot make miracles,” Mourinho said. “Let’s hope everything goes OK. The pitch is hard and very icy. I think Uefa know the conditions of the pitch and everybody knows that in mid-December the conditions in Ukraine and Eastern Europe are more difficult.
“If Uefa are worried about it they should change the fixtures and not allow them to be played in mid-December. If the fifth fixture is here it’s the end of November and not mid-December, and that’s the problem. The hotel is good, stadium good, pitch bad. But it’s very cold. I know it’s difficult to have a better pitch. The stadium is beautiful and new. The pitch is the same. They are trying.” as The Guardian reported.
Well Mourinho wasn’t ok with the playing condition, but thankfully result must have calmed him. Before Europa League campaign started, Mr. Special one said, we are going to win this competition, but he discovered a bumpy ride on the way, and his journey could have end here, if his lads wouldn’t have shown strength to play in chilly weather condition.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan started tuning in Manchester United side
According to Mourinho, Mkhitaryan – the Armenian midfielder wasn’t ready for Manchester United pressure game in September as he ignored him for two months. But, he included him in the squad against Feyenoord in the previous European fixture, in which he had inspired United to victory. Since then Armenian got his confidence back and featured in successive games against West Ham, Everton ensured and now made a trip to Odessa. He had great memories playing here in Ukraine, as he previously netted a hat-trick at the Chornomorets Stadium when playing for Shakhtar Donetsk against Zorya Luhansk.
Mkhitaryan reminded the Ukranian side, he is still the same guy as he netted the opening goal for Manchester United. He picked the ball inside Zorya half after Marcos Rojo’s interception, and proceeded to carry possession forward against a retreating home side, before committing the last two defenders and slotting beyond goalkeeper Igor Levchenko.
United continued to have domination over the hosts, but couldn’t do much damage until Zlatan Ibrahimovic finds the net in 88th minute to make the victory more comfortable giving them 2-0 lead. Ibra and Pogba combines once again, and Frenchmen feeded Zlatan who made his run escaping off-side trap, and from inside the box slotted into the corner, leaving no chance for the goalkeeper to make a save.
Although, victory only helped Manchester United to finish second in the group, but victory was more important for them to reach to the knockout phase. Mourinho’s United side won’t be seeded in Monday’s draw, but it doesn’t matter for the specialist as he said seeding is over-rated, all he cares is his side will still be competing in the tournament, and hopefully he may earn a silverware in his first year as Manchester United manager.