0407 GMT March 19, 2018
Rio Ferdinand described the performance as lethargic and added that Alexis Sánchez looked a shadow of his former self while Paul Scholes called for the Chilean to be dropped, The Guardian reported.
Clutching desperately at the thinnest of straws, Mourinho suggested United had no time for self-recrimination because the Red Devils had an FA Cup quarterfinal tie against Brighton coming up at the weekend. “I don’t want to make a drama out of this defeat. It’s not the end of the world. It’s football and we have another match on Saturday,” the United manager said.
“I know this has happened at Manchester United before because I have sat in this chair as manager of Porto and of Real Madrid. I don’t think it is something new for this club.”
Unsurprisingly Mourinho did not share the critics’ view that United had been poor. “We did our best, we tried, we lost, that’s football,” he said.
“I don’t think the performance was bad, the way we started was really positive. We were in control for the first 10 or 15 minutes, then after that Sevilla started to hide the ball. They have good players, they can do that. They played well in the first half without creating many dangerous situations. We had chances to score in the second half but didn’t take them. After that it was clear that the first goal was going to change the shape of the game and they were the ones who scored it.”
Mourinho said three weeks ago that until a team reached the quarterfinals it could not be regarded as genuine Champions League contender, so by his own admission United has failed after spending so much money on players like Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba, the latter of whom did not even start this game and was unimpressive when he came on.
‘Game of their lives’
Sevilla coach Vincenzo Montella praised his team for playing “the game of their lives”, the Daily Mail reported.
“I'm very, very happy, it's amazing we've won in this very special stadium and the first time in 60 years we're in the quarterfinals of the Champions League,” Montella said.
“I have some very happy players who have got Sevilla in their soul and in their heart. All the players were fantastic, they played the game of their lives.
“Even though we didn't create chances in the first-half we put in a good performance. I felt we were in control possession-wise and we have them very little opportunity to get close to our goal.
“In the second half I'm pleased Ben Yedder turned things around and it was he who made the difference. He was decisive and finished well on two occasions.”
United was left needing three goals following Ben Yedder's quick-fire double and, although Lukaku reduced the deficit with six minutes remaining, Jose Mourinho's men paid the price for their conservative approach.