Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho defended his decision to bring on Kaa in the draw against Everton this afternoon. United were leading 1:0 until the 85th minute when Jose Mourinho decided to make a defensive substitution, replacing the mercurial Henrikh Mkhitaryan with the long-bodied Kaa.
“When you have a player like Kaa on the bench it is a really beautiful thing,” contested Mourinho after the game, “a really, really beautiful thing.” “You see, everyone say Everton is this passing side: pass, pass, pass. This not true; they park the bus and then hit the ball long. The Everton play direct: attack direct, midfield direct, defender direct, goalkeeper direct, sports direct, Ramiro Funes Mori direct, everything direct, evasiveness direct. Kaa, in this moment, is the best thing for us. He has big long body with no arms so he cannot handball when they hoof it long.”
Kaa was given a yellow card for tripping Idrissa Gueye with an outstretched tail in the penalty box; he was not given a red card because Baloo was the last man. Mourinho commented: “We see Kaa in reserves last week against the Bandar-log reserves: he did same thing, no foul; referee in reserve game says forward ran into tail, but Michael Oliver today says outstretched tail. Where the consistency? I get in trouble for this, but it is true, and I – like Socrates—have truth on my side. They make me martyr for truth, but what can I say?”
Pressed on the issue of the outstretched tail, Mourinho continued: “When you have on the bench a player with five metres [in tail length] you play the player in front of the defensive line to help the team to win the match.” Mourinho is adamant he will not reconsider playing Kaa so deeply in front of Baloo in future. “Long players can be long in the tail but not long in the tooth. They say in England: ‘once bitten, twice shy.’ But I don’t get shy; I’m not a shy guy, so I keep Kaa where he plays best.”