Mourinho’s eight-word remark ended Man Utd spell after Sevilla defeat
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Manchester United will be desperate to get revenge over Sevilla when the two clubs meet in Europe for only the second time since the Red Devils were dumped out of the Champions League by their Spanish counterparts back in 2018. United will do battle with Sevilla over two legs for a place in the Europa League semi-finals after being drawn against each other on Friday, although it did not end well for them five years ago when Jose Mourinho was in charge.
United simply needed to win at Old Trafford following a goalless draw in the first leg but produced a dismal showing as they were beaten 2-1, with Wissam Ben Yedder’s second-half double firing Sevilla into the next round of the Champions League in spite of Romelu Lukaku’s late consolation for the hosts. It was a result that signalled the beginning of the end for Mourinho at United and he riled up supporters after the final whistle by insisting that it was not a surprise for the club to have been knocked out of Europe in such disappointing fashion.
“I don’t think it is something new,” Mourinho told reporters. “I sit in this chair twice in the Champions League and knock Manchester United at home at Old Trafford. I sit in this chair with with Porto and Real Madrid with Manchester United out, so I don’t think it is something new for the club. Of course, being Manchester United manager and losing a Champions League tie at home is a disappointment.”
It remains to be seen whether United will be able to get revenge over Sevilla at the next time of asking, with the Red Devils aiming to reach the last four of the Europa League by overcoming the challenge posed by Jorge Sampaoli’s side over at least 180 minutes of football. Erik ten Hag’s side look a different beast to the one managed by Mourinho on that fateful night five years ago, on which United looked totally devoid of ideas and desperately short of intensity or purpose.
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The situation is very different now, though, with United employing a high-pressing style under Ten Hag that enables them to play on the front foot more often than not. They will be hoping for this approach to prove useful against Europa League kings Sevilla at the next time of asking, but the Spanish heavyweights will not be looking to make it easy for the Red Devils to reach the semi-finals at their expense.
Sevilla have remarkably won the competition on six occasions in the last 18 years and Ten Hag pointed to their incredible Europa League record when asked about United’s chances of progressing to the last four in Friday’s press conference.
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“Back to Seville and they have a very good record, we have to be aware of it,” said Ten Hag. “It is going to be tough because they are really experienced in the Europa League, they won it so many times. I don’t know the team in detail so I have to focus on that. I think all the opponents coming to this stage of Europa League, they are strong and you have to play your best football if you want to come through, and it’s definitely the case if you face Sevilla.”
United are still the favourites to win the Europa League this season as a result of their recent improvements under the guidance of Ten Hag, who will be determined to wrap up his first year in charge with a continental trophy at the end of the campaign. However, only time will tell if the Red Devils will have what it takes to beat Sevilla over two legs and bury their demons from 2018 by putting things right at the next time of asking.
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