United finish second in group after loss to Valencia
Jose Mourinho said nothing surprised him about Manchester Uniteds miserable performance against Valencia on Wednesday but dismissed the potential impact of them finishing second in their group
Valencia: Jose Mourinho said “nothing surprised” him about Manchester United’s miserable performance against Valencia on Wednesday but dismissed the potential impact of them finishing second in their group.
United were beaten 2-1, a result made all the more disappointing given they could have gone through top of Group H following Juventus’ surprise loss to Young Boys.
Defeat, however, was nothing more than Mourinho’s side deserved, as a line-up that included eight changes and a return for Paul Pogba delivered a sluggish display at Mestalla.
“I didn’t learn anything at all,” Mourinho said. “Nothing surprised me at all.” United go through as runners-up into Monday’s draw for the last 16, with Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain, Porto, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich their potential opponents in the next round.
Finishing first would have earned them a tie against one of Atletico Madrid, Roma, Schalke, Ajax and Lyon. “I think to qualify in this group is a success, never a failure. To finish second in this group is always a success,” Mourinho said.
“Before the game I told the players if we win and Juve win, we did our job. If we don’t win and Juve don’t win we can blame ourselves. Apart from a couple of clubs that are clearly much better than the others, I don’t think the draw will be significantly different.
“There are teams that finish second that the ones that finish first will not be happy to play against.”
Mourinho said his team only improved after he made three changes he “didn’t want to make”, as Marcus Rashford, who scored United’s goal, Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young were all introduced in the second half.
Sergio Romero, Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo, Marouane Fellaini, Andreas Pereira, Fred and Pogba were the eight players to come into the starting line-up. Jones scored an own-goal just after the break to double Valencia’s lead after Carlos Soler had put the home side ahead in the 17th minute. Rashford gave United hope with an 87th-minute header but it proved too little too late. Mourinho said injuries forced him into all his changes.
, except for the decision to rest David de Gea and Nemanja Matic.
“If I play to win the group, I would have played a similar team,” said Mourinho, who added that Rashford, Lingard and Young will all start against Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.
CSKA Moscow stuns Real Madrid 3-0 at Bernabeu
Madrid (AP): CSKA Moscow handed Real Madrid its worst ever European home loss — and got nothing in reward.
CSKA beat Madrid 3-0 on Wednesday for its second straight win over the defending Champions League holders, but it still finished in last place in their group and missed out on a Europa League spot.
The Russian team finished behind Viktoria Plzen, which defeated Roma 2-1. CSKA need to better Plzen's result in the Czech Republic to finish third, with both teams already out of contention for the Champions League knockout stage.
“It’s sad to say the least to beat Real Madrid, earn seven points, but finish bottom and get eliminated from Europe,” CSKA coach Viktor Goncharenko said.
“But we only have ourselves to blame. In any case, we’ve made sure we’ll spend the holidays in a great mood after tonight’s win.”
CSKA finished with the same seven points as Viktoria Plzen but lost on the head-to-head tiebreaker. Madrid finished with 12 points, three more than Roma. FC Copenhagen was the last team to finish last in its group with seven points, back in 2006. CSKA's 1-0 home win over Real Madrid in October was the team's only other group victory.
Real Madrid left the field jeered by its fans, with many leaving after CSKA scored the third goal. “The fans will jeer when they are not happy with the result,” Madrid coach Santiago Solari said.
“It’s not the result we wanted but we were able to rest some players and give more playing time to the youngsters.”
With the Club World Cup only a week away, Solari used several players who hadn’t started much this season, including Francisco “Isco” Alarcon and Marco Asensio. Isco was jeered during most of the second half and appeared to argue with some of the fans in the stands.
Three players were making their Champions League debut, including young Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior, midfielder Federico Valverde and central defender Javier Sanchez.
Karim Benzema and Marcelo were the only veterans in the starting lineup, with Toni Kroos, Raphael Varane, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale beginning on the bench. Madrid controlled the game early, with Vinicius Junior threatening down the left flank and Marco Asensio making good runs on the right.
The Brazilian nearly scored from inside the area midway through the first half, and Asensio struck the crossbar with a long-range shot a few minutes later. CSKA was dangerous on counterattacks and it took advantage of Madrid’s vulnerability on defense to open the scoring with Chalov's well-placed left-footed shot into the far corner in the 37th minute.
Schennikov added to the lead six minutes later from close range after Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois partially saved a shot by Mario Fernandes inside the area. Chalov helped set up the goal with a back-heel pass to Fernandes.
Bale replaced Benzema at halftime and Kroos entered the match in the 58th, but they were not able help Madrid improve much. Sigurdsson sealed CSKA’s victory with a low shot from inside the area in the 73rd.
Madrid hosts Rayo Vallecano on Saturday before travelling to the United Arab Emirates for its debut in FIFA’s Club World Cup on Dec. 19.