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Thursday 2nd
posted by Morning Star in Sport

SIMON WILLIAMS takes a look at Manchester United's win over Benfica

Manchester United 2-0 Benfica

JOSE MOURINHO once again had to defend criticism of his decision-making following Manchester United’s Champions League game with SL Benfica on Tuesday night.

The Red Devils manager’s decision to bring on Anthony Martial for Marcus Rashford during last Saturday’s victory over Spurs was met by a chorus of boos from the Old Trafford faithful who felt that it should have been Romelu Lukaku who was sacrificed for the eventual scorer of the match-winning goal.

And with the home team 1-0 up in their home tie against Benfica there was a moment of confusion with a little over 10 minutes left to play.

Mourinho ordered Lukaku — who was looking to end a barren run of five games without scoring for his club — to allow a second-half penalty to be taken by Daley Blind. The Dutchman stepped up and slotted the ball past keeper Mile Svilar who had already saved a first-half Martial spot kick.

“I don't understand why everyone asks me the same,” said a baffled Mourinho.

“I am paid to make decisions good or bad. In the first half the decision was bad because the player I choose to take the penalty missed, in the second half I made another decision and I don't see the drama because there is not drama.

“The penalty-taker for this match was Martial who took it in the first half and missed and he was not even on the pitch when the second penalty was given. And then I have to make a decision. Romelu wants to take [the penalty], he has the personality to take the responsibility.

“[Ander] Herrera was the same, but my decision was based on what we did in training in the past couple of days. The players respected my decision and that’s it, end of story.”

And with his side now within a point of qualifying for the last 16, the Portuguese will now turn his attention back to the Premier League when he takes his current charges to his former club Chelsea on Sunday. 

Mourinho will be hoping to make it three wins out of three in a week in all competitions following he victories over Spurs and Benfica. He said: “It’s a week of seven days.”