United boss livid over analyst's poor intel

LONDON • Jose Mourinho raged at Manchester United analyst Giovanni Cerra for his apparent failure to prepare properly for the match against Zorya Luhansk.

The United manager was happy with the result despite some dour patches of play from his team, but he was far from pleased with the efforts of his analysts, who are tasked with - among other things - preparing the players for dealing with opposition set pieces.

It seemed that Mourinho was surprised to see that Yuriy Vernydub, the Zorya coach, had made two changes to the team that beat Vorskla Poltava in the Ukrainian league at the weekend.

Upon taking to the pitch, United midfielder Paul Pogba realised the changes and headed to the dugout to speak to Mourinho.

The Portuguese, and his assistant Rui Faria, immediately stormed over to the home dugout, where Cerra was sitting with his laptop.

Mourinho twice gestured furiously towards Cerra before slapping the lid of the laptop and walking away.

"It was (about) set-piece organisation," he said. "They changed their team before the game. Paul was a bit confused with the changes and obviously I want my assistants to take care of all the details."

For the second successive match, Wayne Rooney was named as a substitute as he has been struggling with a back injury.

But it took only a couple of minutes for the 30-year-old United captain to make an impact off the bench, as he set up Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the winner.

There was more than a hint of good fortune about the assist, though.

Rooney slammed the ball into the ground as he shot and the ball looped up to Ibrahimovic, who nodded in past Oleksii Shevchenko.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2016, with the headline 'United boss livid over analyst's poor intel'. Print Edition | Subscribe