Jose Mourinho admitted the fact Borussia Dortmund were far more advanced in their pre-season preparations was always likely to be the deciding factor in Manchester United’s opening game of Tour 2016 presented by Aon.
Gonzalo Castro scored twice for the Bundesliga side with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s generously-awarded penalty and Ousmane Dembele’s wonderful solo strike earning a 4-1 victory. Henrikh Mkhitaryan got off the mark for the Reds with a tap-in against his former club but it proved in vain.
United boss Mourinho was keen to stress beforehand the result was not important at this early stage of the pre-season, and Dortmund’s superior fitness told in sweltering conditions.
“I think in pre-season the team that wins is always the team that is in an advanced stage of the preparation,” he told MUTV. “Always. Never the best team, always the team that is in advance. It was too obvious.
“The team with four matches in their legs against the team with one match. The team working a lot of months against us with a maximum of 15 days, some of them arrived three or four days ago. There was a huge difference in preparation. Nobody likes to lose. We’re not happy with that but happy with the 90 minutes we have in our legs. It was very important to compete in difficult circumstances with the weather and the opponents and that was good for us.”
Dortmund were always likely to provide a stern test and the German side certainly showed their attacking prowess.
“There are different tours,” said Mourinho. “Some people prefer to play against lower quality teams and win to get confidence out of it. Sometimes it’s confidence out of context and out of reality. When you’re playing a team like Borussia Dortmund, that starts before us and, of course, are one of the good teams in Europe, it is obviously more difficult. The players are frustrated as nobody likes to lose. Even if you say it’s not a problem, you don’t like to lose – even in friendlies. In reality, I was expecting a very difficult match.”
The tour now moves on to Beijing with Manchester City providing the opposition on Monday, but it is still very much a case of work in progress for Mourinho as he gets to know his squad.
“At the moment, I’m not even creating a team,” he stressed. “So many players are not here. We’re creating individuals’ form and trying to bring these players to a good condition. For the new signings and all of the players, they had a chance to play 45, 70 or 90 minutes. It’s very, very important and I can imagine it will take a long time to recover from this effort in the game. In this weather, in reality, at this stage of pre-season for them individually it’s good.”