Juan Mata: Jose Mourinho told Manchester United to increase the tempo at half-time

Juan Mata: Jose Mourinho told Manchester United to increase the tempo at half-time

Juan Mata revealed Jose Mourinho’s half-time instructions in Manchester United‘s EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Hull City, with the Portuguese urging his side to up the “tempo”.

United faced the Tigers at Old Trafford on Tuesday night off the back of a 4-0 win in the FA Cup at the weekend, continuing their excellent recent form under Mourinho. However Marco Silva’s men proved a tough nut to crack in the opening period, while creating a couple of very good chances themselves.

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The Red Devils were quick to dash Hull’s hopes in the second half though, as Mata tapped in a Henrikh Mkhitaryan header to open the scoring in the tie. Marouane Fellaini then headed home what could prove to be a crucial goal towards the end, leaving Mourinho’s men in command ahead of the second leg in two weeks.

Following the game, Mata lifted the lid on Mourinho’s instructions at half-time, revealing they were told to speed up their play.

“Well, that we need to play quicker, we need to put more tempo in the game, basically that,” the playmaker responded to Sky Sports when asked the question. “We needed to create a little bit more, I think we had a few chances in the first half to score earlier.

“We did that in the second half, 2-0 is a good result but it’s not done for sure.”

Mata has scored four goals and created 24 chances in 15 Premier League appearances this season, with a shot accuracy of 77%, as United sit sixth on 39 points, three adrift of the top four.

Next up for them is a home clash with Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, before taking on Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium.

Juan Mata has won 54% of his average duels in the Premier League this season.