Jose Mourinho was understandably upbeat after Manchester United beat Newcastle United 4-1 at Old Trafford to return to winning ways in the Premier League, with Paul Pogba scoring on his comeback from injury and Zlatan Ibrahimovic also making a late return.
Here are the key points from the manager’s post-match interview with BT Sport and his press conference…
PLENTY OF POSITIVES
“The result, the three points, the performance after the Newcastle goal, that mentality to react without panic in a positive way, and obviously the return of injured players is nice – especially in Zlatan’s case; such a dramatic injury, and to see him back is a great emotion. It was a joy for everyone but for all of us that stayed close to such a professional with one of the biggest injuries in football, it was more than that; it was a big emotion to see that for the big guy.”
POGBA WAS ‘DIFFERENT CLASS’
“He was different class. He looked like he wasn’t out for such a long time without playing football. At the beginning of the season we had Paul and Matic growing up together and being like the engine of the team. We lost a little bit of that; other players are good players but they have different qualities, so [it] was good. I left it in Paul’s hands how many minutes to play until he had just the first feeling of fatigue, so we made that decision at a good time and I think it was a great performance by him.”
“He affects our football. With him we have much more creation. I am so happy, so let’s see the decision for Wednesday. The best thing for him may be to play again, but the best decision may be to rest him because he is a player we need to protect.”
MORE ON THE MATCH
“We didn’t start well but I don’t blame my players – I blame [Rafael] Benitez in a positive sense. Very experienced, very intelligent, the team was very well organised, they started very well and created us problems; we couldn’t play and at the same time they were creating problems in our defensive areas. But the goal was a wake-up call. The team reacted very well and very strong. The goal in the first half was very important because it took away from us the pressure of being behind and playing at home.
“The second half was ours: we had control, we had goals, we had beautiful actions. The team was flying, the team was free and confident. We had lots of bodies in attacking areas, we were dominating the game and the players from the midfield were not afraid to arrive in the finishing positions because the game was under control. That’s why honestly I was really enjoying the quality.”
RASHFORD AND MARTIAL TOGETHER
“They both like to play in the same position and that is difficult. They both prefer to play on the left than on the right. When both play with another striker through the middle, we lose a point of contact with a midfielder that we are used to, with a player playing behind the striker. But when we started finding them both on the left, between the striker and the winger, was the moment in the first half when we started creating more. In the first half, we felt a little bit unstable in our defensive areas and that was clearly not because of the defensive players, but because of our balance. So to play them together gives us things but also takes some things away.”
LUKAKU LOVES TO SCORE
“He is a striker and strikers like to score goals. It is not a problem for me if he works like he does and he doesn’t score goals but, for the self-confidence, strikers love to score goals. He was not doing that for us for a few matches and I know that can affect strikers’ confidence, so I was really happy that he scored that goal.”