Sport

Manchester clubs advance to Champions League knock-out stages

Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero is congratulated by team-mates after scoring his side's second goal against Lyon
PA reporters

Uefa Champions League Group H: Manchester United 1 Young Boys 0

JOSE Mourinho slammed water bottles into the ground in an expression of "relief" after Manchester United snatched a last-gasp winner to reach the Champions League last 16 – an opportunity the manager used to remind "lovers" of his enviable continental record.

Young Boys looked set to frustrate, and perhaps even embarrass, the Old Trafford giants on home soil on Tuesday, displaying composure, confidence and camaraderie sorely lacking in their opponents.

But, not for the first time this season, Mourinho's men dug deep and scored a late winner, with Marouane Fellaini turning home to secure a 1-0 victory and progress to the Champions League round of 16 with a match to spare.

The United manager kicked a water bottle carrier and threw another into the ground in celebration at a goal that means they head to Valencia next month with progress assured after the Spaniards lost at Juventus on Tuesday.

"Relief," Mourinho said of his celebrations. "Frustration before that and relief with the goal.

"I think we didn't play for that, we didn't play for 0-0. We didn't play to be in trouble until the last minute, so frustration.

"I was not unhappy with the players. Not at all.

"Frustrated with the fact that we couldn't score, yes, but my players were very tired at the end and that's what I love – I want them to be very tired.

"It means that they give everything, and they did that, with moments of very good football, moments of quality, moments of hypothetical beautiful goals and then also with moments of pressure, moments of lack of confidence, that frustrate us.

"But, in the end, we score.

"I have to reunite the goal we scored with David De Gea's save. I think without David's save, no winning goal.

"But, in the end, we qualify in a very difficult group with one match in hand, suffering a lot, but we did it."

It was hardly the inspiring response United had hoped for after Saturday's tepid 0-0 draw with strugglers Crystal Palace, but Mourinho still used the Group H win as a chance to stick two fingers up at the doubters.

"Let me send a message to my lovers and say that I played Champions League for 14 years and I qualified 14 times," he said. "And the two years where I didn't play Champions League, I won the Europa League twice, so in 16 years, 14 times I qualify and twice I play Europa League and I won.

"Just a little curiosity for my lovers and the lovers of the stats."

Mourinho refused to react to United great Paul Scholes' comment that his side had put in a "terrible" display, but cut down high-profile critics in general when asked about his animated touchline behaviour when Marcus Rashford faltered in front of goal.

"Can myself or another manager have a reaction of frustration? I would invite that people to sit on the bench as managers," the United boss said.

"But I think maybe it's better to have lots of holidays in Barbados and go to the television screen and touch the electronic dummies.

"I think it's much, much, much more comfortable than being on the touchline like we managers we are.

"I am pretty sure that a proper football manager would never criticise another one for emotional reactions on the touchline because it's deja vu for them.

"For the ones that have a nice life, it's different."

It is not just critics that irritate Mourinho but questions, too, having raised eyebrows before the game by dropping Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba to the bench, with Alexis Sanchez missing out entirely.

"No, Sanchez is not injured, but it's quite curious because you always speak about the ones that are not playing," the United boss said. "Tonight, you had Marcus Rashford playing as a nine - that's what you want, that's what you ask for all the time and you had.

"So, don't speak about Lukaku and you tell me Lukaku doesn't score a goal at Old Trafford since March.

"And then you ask, 'Why is he not playing?' You put me in difficult situations with difficult questions, you go always, but you could be nice to me and say, 'Jose tonight you play Marcus Rashford as a nine' and I could go from there.

"But, no, you say, 'You left big names outside'."

Uefa Champions League Group F: Lyon 2 Manchester City 2

PEP Guardiola felt Lyon were a step up from domestic opponents after Manchester City scrambled to a 2-2 draw in the Champions League.

The Premier League leaders twice needed to come from behind as they were outplayed for large spells by the French side in Tuesday's Group F clash in France.

The result ensured City qualified for the last 16, but Guardiola felt the game should serve as another reminder of how tough competing in Europe can be.

The City manager said: "Today the Champions League showed me again that it's a different competition, the players are better, the demands are so high.

"They have weapons on set-pieces, defensively are so strong, they have quality up front. When people say it's easy for the Champions League, you cannot imagine how confused people are.

"After losing the first game, here was not a surprise.

"But in February we'll be there, another year for City. We can focus on the Premier League and try to compete against the best teams in Europe when February comes."

Guardiola, who twice won the Champions League as Barcelona coach, feels the demands are completely different from the Premier League, which City won comfortably last season.

He said: "You don't have time. You can lose games in the Premier League and still have 38 games. Here there is huge quality for 180 minutes.

"We showed personality. We got the point that we needed for February. Qualifying for the last 16 is the happiest time for November and December."

City twice fell behind to goals from the outstanding Maxwel Cornet, who also hit the woodwork, but responded with headed equalisers from Aymeric Laporte and Sergio Aguero.

There had been speculation Guardiola might start 18-year-old Phil Foden after being hit by a spate of injuries, but Raheem Sterling instead played a central midfield role.

Guardiola said: "I decided for another player, but everybody here is ready. I came here to show we wanted to win and I put on all the strikers that we have."

City will now hope to secure top spot in the group in their final fixture against Hoffenheim next month.

Lyon will also need a result in their last game against Shakhtar Donetsk to progress.

Manager Bruno Genesio said: "I was very pleased to see my team perform how they did. City are one of the best teams in Europe.

"I regret our concentration levels dropped after we scored our second goal but we have to take the positives from this as we played a great game. Maxwel had a massive game, as did the entire team.

"We would have liked to have qualified but we are feeling very positive."

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