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Jose Mourinho criticises Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for approach to Barcelona game

Mourinho criticises Solskjaer for Barca approach
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Jose Mourinho questions Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's tactics in Tuesday's 3-0 loss to Barcelona.

Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has criticised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the way he approached Tuesday's Champions League showdown with Barcelona.

The Red Devils headed into the quarter-final second leg trailing 1-0 from the cagey opening 90 minutes at Old Trafford that saw them fail to register a single shot on target.

United initially started well at Camp Nou but they were unable to take their early chances and Barca were two goals ahead inside 20 minutes, before adding a third of the night - and fourth of the tie - on the hour.

Mourinho, who was replaced by Solskjaer in mid-December, believes that his former club could have done more to stop Lionel Messi from taking control of the match.

"There were lots of mistakes, lots of goals with awful defending on the inside foot," he told Russia Today. "You look to [Philippe] Coutinho goal, even the Messi goal. I think United's approach was different. I think in the first game they tried to occupy that central zone because Messi's position is easy to understand but is not easy to create a cage to control him.

"Because he comes from the right, then stays in the middle, and then [Ivan] Rakitic defends on the right and allows him to stay in the middle between the lines. It's very difficult. Manchester United in the first match, zonally, they occupied that central area very well. So when he came into the inside he was finding Fred, he was finding [Scott] McTominay coming to the inside all the time.

"In this match, maybe because Man United were losing 1-0, they tried to start the game with a different perspective. And then it was [Paul] Pogba wide on the left and McTominay much more on the right and Jesse Lingard playing as a number 10 behind the strikers. And in front of the defensive line was only Fred.

"And that's the area where Messi comes and gets the ball and when Messi has the ball. One on one. You are dead. That's why I never liked individual man-on-man against Messi. Messi's a cage. You have to create a cage. Barcelona is Barcelona, they are a better team than Manchester United, they have better players than Manchester United. I think it's normal they won."

Man United return to action on Sunday with a trip to Everton in the Premier League.

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Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates scoring the opening goal against Fulham on February 9, 2019
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