We started badly against Etienne, says Man United coach Mourinho

(161104) -- ISTANBUL, Nov. 4, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho reacts during the UEFA Europa League Group A match between Fenerbahce and Manchester United in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 3, 2016. Fenerbahce won 2-1. (Xinhua/He Canling)

Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho’s half-time talk was more about changing the attitude of his footballers who played a below-par first half during their 3-0 Europa League win against Saint-Etienne here.

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Thursday scored a hat-trick to star in United’s commanding win over Saint-Etienne in the round of 32 first leg tie.

“My first message was that it is impossible to play football at a high level without concentration, without intensity,” Mourinho told the club’s website after the match.

“After that I went through a couple of tactical details, I changed the team a little bit. But the most important thing was really the attitude because we started the game with an immediate back-pass to a striker to face (goalkeeper Sergio) Romero in a one-against-one, so we started pretty badly,” he added.

Mourinho said it’s not easy to do what the cerebral marksman Ibrahimovic is doing in England.

“He has scored so many hat-tricks in his career but this is a first for Manchester United,” Mourinho said.

“We know that it is more difficult in England, we know clearly that it is fantastic for him. But the important thing is the result and the important thing is that we managed a clean sheet at home, which is important, and to score three goals is a good advantage for us. We can try to manage with that,” he added.

Citing examples, the coach also said that the tie is not yet over.

“I’ve had crazy experiences in football. I was losing against Tottenham once, 3-0 at half-time, and we drew 3-3. I was winning, it was (for) Real Madrid against Galatasaray, we won 3-0 at home and then were losing 3-1 in Istanbul (the tie ended in a 5-3 aggregate win for Real),” he said.

“I have been through so many crazy experiences that I believe in anything. We have to go there, defend well, not concede and try to score a goal that will put them in a very difficult situation,” Mourinho added.

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