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What Jose Mourinho told Man Utd players about Mile Svilar before Benfica match

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You have to feel for Benfica’s Mile Svilar.

The Belgium Under-19 international, aged 18 years and 52 days, become the youngest goalkeeper to ever play in the Champions League when he started against Manchester United on Wednesday night, breaking Iker Casillas’s long-standing record.

All was going well until the 64th minute when the young lad suffered a nightmarish moment that no doubt cost him a night’s sleep after he went home.

Svilar was caught out by the flight of Marcus Rashford’s free-kick and ended up carrying the ball behind the line.

It was a devastating moment for the teenager, who apologised to the Benfica supporters after his team’s 1-0 defeat and looked genuinely crestfallen.

To their credit, Man Utd’s players and staff consoled Svilar immediately after the match.

Romelu Lukaku, in particular, spent a couple of minutes talking to the Belgian, who must have wanted the ground to open and swallow him up after his gaffe.

Mourinho: What I told the players about Svilar

In his post-match press conference, Jose Mourinho was asked if he’d discussed targeting Svilar with his players before the match.

And the Portuguese coach confirmed that he had - although he insists that he also told his players what a talented young goalkeeper he is.

"I knew how good he was and I told the players how good he was," Mourinho told BT Sport. "But we had stats and information about set pieces, so we needed to make him uncomfortable.

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"So at corners we tried to crowd him and put him under pressure, and from free-kicks we knew he risks a lot.

"Only top keepers risk like he does. We got lucky."

Skip to 0:48 to watch Mourinho's comments on Svilar...

Matic: What Mourinho told us about Svilar

Nemanja Matic, in his post-match interview, then revealed more information about what Mourinho had told the players prior to kick-off.

"The manager said to us to try and shoot and get some crosses towards their goalkeeper because he is young and playing in his first game,” the Serbian midfielder commented.

SL Benfica v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League

"This is football and I know he is a great goalkeeper and I wish him well for the future."

Mourinho clearly does his homework before matches

So there it is: proof, if ever it was needed, that Mourinho does his homework before matches.

FBL-EUR-C1-BENFICA-MAN UTD

By targeting Svilar at set-pieces, Mourinho’s side were able to secure all three points and now have one foot in the Champions League knockout rounds.

*Now find out what Romelu Lukaku said to Mile Svilar by clicking HERE*

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Topics:
Romelu Lukaku
Ryan Giggs
Football
Manchester United

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