Jose Mourinho has revealed the area of England’s play in which he felt the Three Lions made the biggest mistake during their 2-1 World Cup semi-final defeats to Croatia.
Gareth Southgate’s men had a series of dangerous free-kicks late on which were taken by a player Mourinho manages at Manchester United, Marcus Rashford, although they all came to nothing.
However, Rashford was clearly under instructions to float lofted balls into the opposition area, something which Croatia dealt with easily, and is the direct opposite of the type of whipped deliveries he regularly produces at club level.
“The decisions of the lateral free-kicks that happened, I thought England went the wrong way at that time,” he told Russia Today.
“Because they were trying to have the soft ball to [Harry] Maguire but in previous matches Maguire was very, very dominant in relation to other opponents and today was not the case.
“They were giving [Dejan] Lovren the mission to go with that first ball with Maguire. Marcus Rashford is very good taking the lateral free-kicks with tension, with speed and into other areas and they decide always for what I call the ‘balloon’ coming down and gave time for Lovren to adapt to the position and for [Danijel] Subasic to come out to catch.”
Despite Mourinho questioning this tactic it is hard to criticise the Three Lions coaches approach from set plays, with England scoring nine of their 12 goals in Russia from set plays.