Jose Mourinho said Manchester United’s continual slow starts are whitening his hair after Marcus Rashford scored a late winner at Bournemouth.
Rashford netted in the 92nd minute at the Vitality Stadium to earn United’s first away Premier League victory in three attempts, moving them within two points of the Champions League qualification places.
United were second best for much of the contest, Bournemouth taking a deserved early lead thanks to Callum Wilson’s 50th goal for the club before the in-form Anthony Martial hit back for Mourinho’s men.
But victory at the start of a run that sees United also face away games against Juventus in the Champions League and rivals Manchester City in the Premier League boosted the Portuguese, who strongly criticised his team’s first-half showing.
“It wasn’t just the start, it was the first half,” Mourinho said to BT Sport. “A tough time, I thought I was the luckiest manager in the Premier League. To be 1-1 in a half where it should be like five or 6-2 is really lucky, because we were really poor.
“Defensively we were awful. Absolutely awful. And not just my defenders, but the team. We didn’t start pressing up or doing what we worked on during the week. I feel like people watching this game will not believe how hard we trained this week. The first half was a disaster.”
— Diogo Dalot (@DalotDiogo) November 3, 2018
Rashford missed a golden chance to put United ahead in the 64th minute, seeing his shot blocked by Nathan Ake after Ashley Young’s free-kick bounced back off the crossbar.
But despite that miss by the England striker, whose first Premier League goal since September later redeemed him, Mourinho felt United delivered a much improved performance after the interval.
“The second half was exactly the opposite. We pressed higher, more intensity and intention. We created lots of chances, we deserved to score before the minute 90-something,” Mourinho added.
“I started [at half-time] by saying it was impossible to play worse than we did so the second half will be better for sure. The team performed much better. I was happy with bringing Ander Herrera into the game.
“Normally the intention is to make attacking changes, but I felt the team needed a player like Herrera to give us that balance, win the ball faster and protect Ashley Young, so I was happy with that change and the team was much better and we created lots of chances.
“I can’t believe we didn’t score from the Young free-kick. The two points we lost against Chelsea in the last minute [two weeks ago], we got them today.
“I can’t understand [the slow starts]. My assistants were saying this is the best warm-up of the season. The week was a very good week of work, so I can’t believe how bad we started.
“I love the song ‘attack, attack, attack’, but when you lose the ball you have to have stability, and we did not have it against a good team. We were prepared for what Bournemouth have done in the season.
“We were ready for everything, I can’t understand the mentality that brings me more white hair!”
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