Jose Mourinho said he and the Manchester United players ‘opened their hearts’ during a frank half-time team talk against Newcastle.
Mourinho and a number of United players jogged towards the tunnel after a forlorn 45 minutes in which Newcastle took a 2-0 lead into the interval. Mourinho had already substituted Eric Bailly for Juan Mata and then replaced Scott McTominay with Marouane Fellaini for the second-half.
Amid speculation it could be his last match in charge of United, Mourinho oversaw an innovative recovery as Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba dropped back into deep-lying midfield roles and Mata’s free-kick sparked a 3-2 comeback. Fellow substitute Alexis Sanchez emerged off the bench to become the matchwinner and secure United’s first win in five.
Luke Shaw revealed Mourinho gave the players a ‘kick up the a**e’ at the pause and Mourinho amplified on his motivational address to the United players inside the dressing room.
“In half-time, we opened our hearts,” Mourinho told MUTV. “And we spoke about tactical changes for two minutes and we spoke for eight minutes about other things that I thought, ‘let the players a little bit more free to face the second-half’ and then 3-2. Amazing.
“But if it was 2-2 the feeling would be the same. Always when the team is living difficult moments it is not easy for anyone and to score the winning goal and to come to the game with the result and to be important in the changing I think is a great feeling for the boy.
“The result is fantastic and it was something we needed. Even without the victory, I would leave the stadium with pride because of what the boys did or tried to do.
“I have said for many years, you can lose matches but cannot lose your dignity or pride and that it’s not about the manager or the players, it’s about the club and the fans. And when you play for a certain club, it doesn’t matter if it’s a giant club like Manchester United or any other club, you have to give everything.
“You can win, you can lose, but you must always be there and especially in the second half in very difficult circumstances, the players gave absolutely everything and I am very happy with this result. But even without this result, I would have a good feeling towards my players.”
Source: Manchester Evening News