Swansea City v Manchester United - Carabao Cup Fourth Round

Portuguese Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho


Mighty Manchester are in the fight to win both the English Premier League and Champions League silverware

Match Report

Manchester United 2-0 Benfica

Manchester United goals: Mile Svilar 45 o.g, Daley Blind 78 pen

At 14 minutes Manchester United opened the match scoring with a goal from Matic. Benfica’s young goalkeeper Svilar could not stop Matic’s goal that came from 25 yards out towards the bottom right. The ball hit the base of the right-hand post, out onto the fully-extended Svilar’s back, and into the net - United 1-0 Benfica. Otherwise Svilar was been excellent in the first half. Man United are closing in on a place in the Champions League knockout stage.

On his 20th birthday, Marcus Rashford came on late in the second half and made an instant impact going past Samaris, beating Ruben Dias on the outside, and is then hit by Samaris. At 78 minutes, Lukaku prepares to tee up the penalty ball and take the kick. Herrera takes the ball off him to take responsibility himself. Finally Blind snatches it off Herrera, and slots home a simple penalty winner down the middle. United will be in the knockout stages tonight unless Moscow win in Basel.

Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho was a bit unhappy with supporters who questioned his team’s style as he aimed a small dig at Man United fans suggesting they should have taken more joy from Saturday’s narrow win against Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup. United earned a 1-0 victory against Spurs, with sub Anthony Martial latching onto Romelu Lukaku’s hopeful flick-on to score the only goal of the battle. Some home fans groaned at Lukaku’s relatively subdued performance at Old Trafford, prompting Mourinho to defend his ‘untouchable’ striker afterwards. After beginning the 2017-18 season in fine scoring form, United have only scored more than one goal in one of their last five Premier League games and that was against bottom of the table Crystal Palace. Some fans are questining Mourinho’s tactics, and comparing them to the more free-flowing Manchester City side who are scoring more goals and are in first place on the Premier League Table.

Speaking in Tuesday’s United Review, the programme for the Benfica game, Morinho was quoted.

“I hope that you enjoy the game more than some of you did against Tottenham.”

Despite sitting second in the Premier League table, and top of their Champions League group, Mourinho’s tactics at United are being questioned by some. Mourinho was unhappy with some of the groans that accompanied Lukaku’s performance. Portuguese coach Mourinho recently said that he would not end his career at Old Trafford, while simultaneously praising PSG. Mourinho questioned fans over their treatment of Lukaku. After the win over Spurs, Mourinho was interviewed.

“I would like the supporters to explain to me why they don’t support him so much because he gives everything and I think it is not fair when scoring the goal or not scoring the goal makes the whole difference,” said Mourinho. “I don’t think it is fair at all. So I’m a bit disappointed – but not with him. With him very pleased.”

Real Madrid were the last side to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford in European competition in March 2013. Going into the match Benfica have lost all three group games so far and have not scored in two of those three ties. United have a foot in the knock out stages of the competition, and will try their best to make it four wins out of four and book their place in the last 16 at Old Trafford against the Portuguese champions. 

Twenty-two-year-old Luke Shaw made his first Manchester United start since April 30 in their Champions League tie against Benfica on Tuesday night at Old Trafford. Shaw has only made two substitute appearances in the popular Carabao Cup this season and none in a Premier League or Champions League matchday squad. Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia were not among the Man United squad members on the team coach. Valencia's only cup appearance was at Benfica two weeks ago.

Man United next face giant club Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday before the November internationals and no doubt Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will rest Jones and Valencia ahead of the match.

Axel Tuanzebe made his second appearance of the season after he started at centre-back in the Carabao Cup win against Swansea last week. The 19-year-old was omitted from Mourinho’s squad against Tottenham Hotspur after Eric Bailly recovered from his groin injury.

Dutchman Daley Blind lives nearby and tends to rendezvous at the Manchester city centre hotel separately.

Mourinho returned to his home at the Lowry Hotel where he still resides an hour before his players turned up. Mourinho reported at his pre-match press conference that United's injured players Marcos Rojo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini are unavailable.

"I think it's the same, we still have one more training session at 3pm today just to confirm," Mourinho said. "But in the best of the scenarios we have the same players as the last weekend. Our aim tomorrow is to qualify. Ten points would be okay, but our main aim is to qualify first in the group. Benfica will give us a difficult match. They have their own ambition and pride and they will try to win, we just want to get to the last 16 by finishing first in the group. We played Marcus and Anthony together in Swansea, one week ago, so yes, they can play together, that's no problem. What we cannot do is play with 12 players, and we cannot play with everybody at the same time."

Romulu Lukaku has not scored in his last 5 games.

Mourinho has declared Romelu Lukaku as 'untouchable' after he perceived United supporters' booing of Marcus Rashford's withdrawal at the weekend to be a slight on the Belgian. Lukaku stayed on and hit the post with a header before he out-jumped Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld to play in Anthony Martial for an 80th-minute winner.

"The fans are the fans and I also told that the fans paid their ticket," Mourinho said. "They are free to express themselves the way they want to express, but my job is to protect my players and I think Romelu is one of the players that should be untouchable in terms of the respect from everyone. It's not one goal or one ball that hit the post or one that can make Romelu's contribution below the top level, he's playing extremely well for us and I have to protect my players when I feel they deserve it and Romelu always deserves it because what he does for the team is fantastic. Playing football for a striker is not just about scoring goals. So he is untouchable in my team and also in the support and respect he deserves from the fans.

"I don't think he was quiet [against Spurs] at all, ask Alderweireld and Vertonghen and Dier if he was quiet and they are some of the best centre defenders in football. I don't think he was quiet as well, the qualities of scoring goals or not scoring goals because in the end that is what people analyse, but he was not quiet at all."

Eric Bailly added: "He is an excellent player. I've played against him and now I am fortunate to play with him. Every player knows what kind of player he is and he's playing well and scoring goals. The most important thing is he carries on doing his job like a good centre forward."

Before the game, United manager Jose Mourinho was interviewed.

“We have only three midfield players at this moment. We managed to give 60 mins rest to Nemanja Matic at Swansea; Ander Herrera has played every match, so it is time for him to have a break. Today is obviously a big match for Scott McTominay, but we believe in him and he is ready. The Chelsea game at the weekend is not on my mind at all; the important thing is to qualify for the Champions League and we are not there yet.”

Mourinho was asked if he expects the crowd to get behind his team.

“I don’t know. They normally are. We have enjoyed some good moments at Old Trafford and this season we are having good results, let’s see if we can continue that,” replied Mourinho.

Jose Mourinho’s United side are now but a point away from the Champions League knockout phase after their fourth win from four Group A matches. A talking point of United’s winning Group A clash against Benfica is that José Mourinho insisted that Daley Blind take Man United’s second penalty of the game instead of superstar striker Romelu Lukaku. At 78 minutes after Marcus Rashford  secured a spot-kick and Lukaku looked like he was going to take the shot. After a brief intervention from Ander Herrera, Blind stepped up to send the ball home and a seemingly annoyed Mourinho made a gesture to signal his disapproval with a hand gesture similar to what he at the close of Saturday’s win against the Spurs. Asked about the hand action, the Portuguese did not recall it.

“I don’t remember that,” said Mourinho. “I don’t understand why everyone asks me the same, I am paid to take decisions good or bad. In the first half the decision was bad as Anthony Martial missed one. “In the second half I made another decision and I don’t see the drama, the penalty taker for this match was Martial, he was not even on the pitch when the second one was given. Romelu wants to take, he has the personality to take the responsibility, Herrera was the same. But my decision was based on training in the past couple of days, the players respected my decision and that was it, end of story.”

“What I know is we want to win the maximum points, we didn’t qualify yet, so we are going to try to win the next two matches and finish with 18 points. It would be nice,” said Mourinho.

Before the start of the game with Benfica, Mourinho described Lukaku as “untouchable” so it was a surprising decision to deny him a chance to break a five-game scoring drought and build up his confidence before United play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Mourinho had made a pre-match plea to Manchester United fans regarding his belief that Lukaku had not been given enough support by fans during the win.

“I hope some of you enjoy the game more than some of you did against Tottenham,” said fifty-four year old Mourinho.

Mourinho made six squad changes for the game. Scott McTominay was given a full debut in the Champions League, his second start in United colours. Also in were Martial, Matteo Darmian, Blind, Jesse Lingard, and Juan Mata.

Eighteen-year-old Mile Svilar was Benfica’s goalkeeper again despite his mistake allowing Rashford’s winner in the reverse game in Lisbon. Rui Vitoria’s side were the same except for the suspended Luisão being replaced by Jardel.

threatened first, via a corner won by Douglas off Blind, although David De Gea easily stopped it. Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1 had Lingard as the No10, splitting Mata and Martial right and left. The latter, the scorer of Saturday’s winner, won an early free-kick after being dropped by Rúben Dias. Svilar dived to his right to save Martial’s poor attempt of a penalty. United took their time to create an opening for Lukaku who strode forward and forced a save from Svilar. Next, Nemanja Matic’s 30-yard shot rebounded off Svilar’s left post, hit the unfortunate keeper’s shoulder and went in as an embarrassing own goal that culd have been two but the misfiring Lukaku failed to finish when clear in on Svilar. Lukaku was looking for a goal and was lucky to be awarded a foul when a first touch had the ball bouncing hard off him before being going down. Mourinho took off Mata and sub Marcus Rashford’s 15-minute cameo on his 20th birthday featured his winning of the penalty. Lukaku goes into United’s Premier League clash with Chelsea needing to break what is now a six-game goal drought.


Manchester United made six changes to the side that defeated Tottenham last weekend. Missing: Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Antonio Valencia and Marcus Rashford. Taking their places: Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian, Scott McTominay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial. Benfica named the same side that took on Manchester United at the Estadio da Luz in their last meeting, with the exception of the suspended Luisao. In comes captain Jardel. Rookie goalie Mile Svilar is given another chance to showcase his talent after his debut against United.

Manchester United

de Gea, Darmian, Bailly, Smalling, Blind, McTominay, Matic, Mata, Lingard, Martial, Lukaku. Subs: Romero, Lindelof, Young, Rashford, Herrera, Mkhitaryan, Shaw.


Svilar, Douglas, Jardel, Dias, Grimaldo, Pizzi, Fejsa, Filipe Augusto, Salvio, Jimenez, Goncalves. Subs: Julio Cesar, Lopez, Samaris, Jonas, Seferovic, Eliseu, Cervi.

Referee: Gediminas Mazeika (Lithuania).

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Premier League: .Norwich City v Liverpool Tickets


Jamie Carragher, Liverpool FC

Premier League - Liverpool

Rodgers has admitted he has only 12 fit senior players ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Norwich City.

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 'We believe that we have good young players at Liverpool," said Carragher.

'But you can have the best kids and academy in the world, and if the manager isn't brave enough to play them, then it doesn't make any difference.

'You have to give the manager credit for having the balls to play them and for the lads to have the sort of character they showed as well at West Brom after going 1-0 down.

'It isn't just the ability they have, it's the character as well. It's not just against West Brom that they've showed that. It was last week as well in the Europa League (against Young Boys).

'He's giving players a chance and they have to grasp it. So far they're doing that.'

'It's difficult for the manager, we're in four competitions and the squad's a bit threadbare at moment.

'We missed out on a couple of players in the transfer window on the last day.

'We also have a few injuries as well, so it's difficult for the manager to juggle it all.

'I'm sure a lot of people looked at the team sheet at West Brom and thought it was going to be a difficult night for us.

'After the first 10 minutes maybe they were being proven right. But credit to the young players here.'

'We're all very disappointed with the points total in the league but a lot of things have gone against us, like the sending-off (of Jonjo Shelvey against Manchester United).

'The manager can't affect those type of things. We should have won a couple more games.

'But now we can see the benefit of the young lads coming into the team.

'Eventually the manager's way of working will come to fruition.'

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