LISBON, Portugal — Nemanja Matic has revealed Jose Mourinho ordered his players to target goalkeeper Mile Svilar before the teenager’s error gifted Manchester United victory over Benfica.
The 18-year-old, who became the youngest goalkeeper to appear in the Champions League, carried Marcus Rashford’s 30-yard free kick over the line in the second half.
Romelu Lukaku and David De Gea tried to console Svilar after the final whistle, but Matic admitted the goal was part of Mourinho’s plan.
“The manager said to us to try and shoot and get some crosses towards their goalkeeper because he is young and playing in his first game.
“This is football and I know he is a great goalkeeper and I wish him well for the future.”
Victory in Lisbon puts United on the verge of qualification from Group A with nine points from nine.
Matic added: “We had control, some difficulties in the first 30 minutes but then we controlled the pitch. We used our experience. We could not find the second goal but did not make any mistakes at the back.
“We scored a goal and we had more chances. We played well in the second half and played well enough to take three points. It was hard for us but we managed to win.”
Victor Lindelof was part of a United defence that has now kept nine clean sheets in 13 games this season after stifling Benfica, the team he left in the summer.
He told BT Sport: “Benfica is a good team and defended well with their experienced players.
“It felt good. I spent five years here and I am happy for the win. I did not feel anything, just happy to play and I wanted to help my team get the win.”