Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was left to lament his side’s profligacy in front of goal following their 1-0 defeat to FC Basel here in northern Switzerland.
A late Michael Lang goal, coming in the 89th minute of this European clash, consigned the visitors to their first Champions League defeat of the season and ensures qualification to the competition’s last 16 will be determined in the final match of the group stages.
United need simply avoid a record European home defeat against CSKA Moscow next month and their spot in the knockout stages will be secured.
But after watching his side waste a series of chances in front of goal during the first half of Wednesday’s encounter, with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial and Mauroane Fellaini all coming close for the side, Mourinho was left to reflect on what could have been.
“Half time it should be 5-0, they didn't have a shot, we hit the post twice, had huge percentage of the ball, we created numerous chances, the game was easy to win, you don't score, the opponent survive and in the second half you feel they have a chance," he said.
“I believe that with the minutes going probably my players felt we didn't score until now, we don't concede and we get the point and in the last minute they score.
“Frustration starts in the first half, I was counting to my assistants: one two and three, then four and five, then Martial six, Fellaini seven, we go to half time 0-0 and put ourselves in this situation and in the second half it would be difficult to have the same number of chances.”
As Mourinho alluded to, the second half here at St Jakob-Park made for a striking contrast to the opening 45 minutes of which United dominated.
The hosts came to life after the restart, spurning a number of their own opportunities to break the deadlock before Lang, beating Daley Blind at the far-right post, struck the hammer blow with one minute left on the clock.
But Mourinho refused to place the blame at Blind’s door step, insisting instead that the team should share responsibility for Wednesday’s defeat.
“The only thing I can get from the goal is the low cross, the right back coming in front of Daley and I know that in the flash interview Daley was blaming himself, it's totally unfair. I refuse that situation because we are a team in the first half we should be winning five or 6-0 and that was not Daley's fault for sure so we put ourselves in this position.”
The United manager added:“The first half the attitude was good, the football was good, is really diff to blame just football, easy match to win and then you lose, great for them, they have a good chance to qualify.”
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