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12th Jul 2018

Jose Mourinho gets forensic in lamenting the type of long ball England used

Conan Doherty

“The mistake arrived.”

Three words that probably sum up Jose Mourinho’s philosophy. It’s not about finding a way to get through a team, it’s not about finding a way to score even, it’s about the other lads making more mistakes than you.

You can see it in United’s style of play. Everything is kept tight, no risks are taken and then it’s just a case of hoping someone will cave. It’s about the mistake arriving and being ready to pounce when it does.

The Portugal native is a pundit on Russia TV for the 2018 World Cup and he came in handy for the analysis of England’s defeat to Croatia because, well, he got more detailed than anyone is likely to get about the type of long ball a team uses.

For Mourinho, England’s downfall wasn’t in abandoning the control they had over the entire first half and opting instead to loft high balls to Maguire from set pieces, it was not fizzing a set piece into the melting pot with a bit more purpose.

Yes, they had other chances, they had sharpness and pace that could’ve carved out opportunities, but Mourinho, of course, was concerned about the delivery of their set pieces.

“I thought England went the wrong way because they were trying to have the soft ball to Maguire,” he explained.

“In previous matches, Maguire was very, very dominant in relation to other opponents and, today, it was not the case. They [Croatia] were giving Lovren the mission to go for that first ball with Maguire.

“Marcus Rashford is very good at taking the lateral free kicks with tension, with speed and into other areas [but] they decide for what I call the balloon coming down and gave time to Lovren to adapt the position, for Subasic to come out and to catch. 

“[Croatia] were also dominant from a mental point of view.”


Jose Mourinho