27 Dec, 16:30
Jose Mourinho has explained why striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sacrificed during Manchester United’s draw with Burnley.
The Red Devils trailed 2-0 at half-time when Ibrahimovic, starting in attack alongside Romelu Lukaku and defender Marcos Rojo were withdrawn, replaced by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard. The subs left Mou’s men playing with only Phil Jones in central defence, with Lingard going on to score twice, equalising in stoppage time to earn United a point. The 36 year old was starting his first Premier League game since April 9 and was ineffectual alongside Lukaku. Mourinho believes United were livelier with Lingard, Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata playing behind Lukaku.
- It was tactical, play only with one central defender. We know that they don't normally have the ball, they just play direct.So really in the line-up, play one against one, Jones was a risk Jones accepted, Matic was there just to bring the ball from totally free positions, so he was bringing lots of balls into midfield. And then instead of more positional players like Zlatan and Lukaku, we decided to go with Mkhitaryan, Lingard and Mata all three trying to play in these areas behind Lukaku and we can say we had some success, said Mourinho.
United trail Manchester City by 13 points and the champions elect can extend that gap to 15 if they beat Newcastle at St James' Park on Wednesday evening.
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