March 23, 2018

Mourinho: Anything is possible if United reach Champions League quarters

13 March 2018, 02:45 | Joan Schultz

GETTYPaul Pogba is out injured for Manchester United

Paul Pogba

Mourinho-managed teams, too, are hard to beat when they are ahead - a fact highlighted by a prolific Liverpool side's struggles to break down United after the Portuguese set his side up defensively in the second period following Marcus Rashford's two-goal salvo in the first 24 minutes.

Marcus Rashford's brace to sink Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday bolstered confidence around what Mourinho's squad might be able to achieve this season, although the man himself remains a realist.

"I don't think a player from a club like Barcelona and a national team like Chile is easy".

"When you're in the last 16, it looks really far, but in the last eight, you start smelling [the] semifinals".

To do so, Mourinho must find the right blend between attack and defence with big decisions to be made over whether £89 million club record-signing Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez, who joined in January on reportedly the highest pay packet in Premier League history, start.

Mourinho led Porto to an unlikely triumph in the 2003-04 competition and did likewise with Inter six years later. "Sometimes you are in the team, sometimes you are not in the team". "Now I have only one name and that is Sevilla. But we know there is a lot more to fight for this season".

"We're close to achieving something important after 60 years of not being present in the quarter-finals", Castro told the press on Monday.

"To keep going and try to get through to the quarterfinal would be great for us".

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15 - Manchester United haven't managed to score more than one goal in any of their last 15 Champions League encounters with Spanish opposition (seven goals in total).

"In these types of games, when the pressure is on you, you just be yourself and I think that's what seems to happen in these games and the team seems to react well, when maybe we don't react as well in other games", said the 20-year-old.

52 - More than half of the teams who lose the first leg of a Champions League knockout game away from home 2-1 end up progressing (52 per cent - 12/23).

Rashford also insisted that he didn't need to be reassured by his manager when he was struggling for playing time, saying: "He doesn't have to (speak to me)". It's a team with a big tradition.

Asked if United have the potential to go all the way this season, Mourinho was cautious. I don't feel we have any advantage in this moment.

Forwards Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial returned to the group workout, having recovered from their injuries.

United will be without Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind, who all missed out through various problems.

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