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It Is Easy To Blame Mourinho, But Why The Man United Manager Does Not Deserve It For The Game Against Liverpool

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Why Jose Mourinho Should Not Be Blamed For His Tactics In The 0-0 Draw At Anfield

Jose Mourinho was at the receiving end of a lot of criticism following the 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield yesterday. A good majority of both fans and critics felt like he shouldn’t have ‘parked the bus’, as many like to call it. While that is warranted, it is also important to remember that a match at Anfield has proven to be extremely tough for even the best of teams in the past.

The way United played against Liverpool is justifiable to an extent, but this should be worrisome only if he continues to play like this in every match – and that has not happened yet. Of course, the draw possibly brought about painful memories of the previous season for United fans but things have been different this season.

Many people argued that Mourinho should trust his attack more in going forward and resort to a more fast-paced, attacking style of football. Unfortunately, what people are failing to understand is that United cannot boast of having an attacking lineup like Manchester City’s, where they can confidently go ahead and attack day in and day out. The Red Devils were without key players Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, and Mourinho simply had to make do with what he had.

Had Mourinho resorted to an attacking formation considering how terrible Romelu Lukaku and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were in the game, Liverpool would have won easily. Instead, Mourinho was inviting Klopp to take a risk yesterday – but he didn’t take one. Klopp didn’t risk taking out a midfielder to put in another forward, which goes on to show that both managers were desperately trying to out-maneouvre each other.

More than a game of football, it was more like a battle of wits between Mourinho and Klopp. When the whole topic of ‘parking the bus’ comes up, it almost paints a situation of desperate defending, but that is not what happened against Liverpool. This was United’s 7th clean sheet in 8 games, and they seemed to thrive playing defensively.

The only place where Mourinho’s plan faltered was with Lukaku. The Belgian couldn’t hold the ball up when it came out, and there was just a general bluntness in the attack overall. Lukaku was poor yesterday and Henrikh Mkhitaryan went missing but that’s not Mourinho’s fault.

In fact – for all the United fans who are complaining about the draw – it is interesting to note that Sir Alex Ferguson’s last six visits to Anfield finished with four defeats and one win even though he resorted to the attacking football that the fans love. Mourinho, on the other hand, secured a point while also driving the Liverpool fans crazy with frustration.

It is very easy to criticise him and blame him but Klopp did not really take any risk either. Moreover, Klopp has had one win in eight so far, whereas Manchester United continue to hold the second place in the league table right now. Mourinho is clearly thinking long-term, and it is working in United’s favour so far.