Jose Mourinho has praised the attitude of his Manchester United players following their 4-0 win over Yeovil Town in the FA Cup.
The home side made an enthusiastic start and didn’t afford Mourinho’s men much space but eventually found an opening after Marcus Rashford, from Alexis Sanchez’s pass, took advantage of some indecision at the back.
Life was much easier for Man United after the break, with Sanchez creating another goal, this time for Ander Herrera, before substitutes Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku turned the affair into a rout with late strikes.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, was quick to praise his players for the way they went about their business at Huish Park.
“These matches are difficult if the attitude is not correct, even so the attitude was correct in the first half they gave us a difficult time,” he said.
“Pressing, running, aggressive on the ball. Sometimes on the shin pads but great attitude from them, I could hear Darren (Way) on the touchline and he knew what he was saying and asking the players to do but I think we were professional and in the second half winning 1-0 we had the control of the game and the possession and the space for transition and more quality and intensity and we killed the game.”
Cup ties like these can be excruciating: a packed lower-league stadium (the only time it’ll happen all season), a sizzling atmosphere, usually some kids with a plastic FA Cup, and the game live on BBC, there for anyone interested in seeing United potentially toppled by a minnow side.
It always starts in similar fashion. Furious levels of intensity on and off the ball – Yeovil had a player booked inside a minute – and the crowd booing the best opposition player are staples of the first 15 minutes of a game taking this format.
What happens after that period, however, is now down to the team expected to win. Either they capitulate (think MK Dons), stagnate (think Cambridge under Louis van Gaal), or find their groove.
And while it took United some time, they had the cigars out by the end.