Jose Mourinho believes Jordan Pickford was to blame for Denmark’s opening goal against England in the Euro 2020 semi-final.
The Three Lions conceded for the first time this summer against the Danes, with Mikkel Damsgaard netting a superbly-struck free-kick on the half-hour mark.
But, Gareth Southgate’s men bounced back and ultimately sealed progression to the final thanks to a Simon Kjaer own goal and a Harry Kane winner in extra-time.
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It was a cagey contest and the nerves were evident in the England camp, particularly from Pickford, who looked all at sea in the opening exchanges with his distribution. As such, Mourinho believes the Denmark goal was an inevitability.
“Earlier on, even before Denmark’s opener, Jordan Pickford was showing some nerves and a bit of a lack of concentration,” Mourinho said on talkSPORT.
“I saw the mistake arriving, but apart from that I didn’t see one England player who didn’t play well or very well.”
Jordan Pickford: England’s best player at Euro 2020 despite Denmark performance?
There can be no denying Pickford has been in top form this summer, with his dextrous heroics between the sticks culminating in the Everton stopper keeping five clean sheets so far, which will ensure he finishes the tournament with the most shutouts.
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The Mackem elicited high praise from some of his biggest critics after keeping a lid on Germany’s attack in the 2-0 round-of-16 win at Wembley, with Gary Neville even going as far as to describe the ‘keeper as “England’s player of the tournament so far”.
Speaking after the Germany win, Neville tweeted: “My MOM last night was Jordan Pickford and I also think he’s been England’s player of the tournament so far.
“I’ve been critical of him with Everton but with England he’s a different player!”
As it currently stands, Pickford is the only goalkeeper to boast a save percentage above 90 (91.67%) and one of only two players alongside Finland’s Lukas Hradecky (82.35%) to sit above the 80-mark, with Sunday’s opposite number, Gianluigi Donnarumma, currently fourth in the charts on 75%.
Pickford has also made the second-most punches (six), behind Stole Dimitrievski (eight) of North Macedonia, showing the command and authority he has of his penalty area, though he will no doubt be seething that his clean-sheet record in the tournament has now gone.