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Mourinho: I am very pleased with the performance but not with the result

Manchester United beat Celta Vigo 1-0 in the semi-final first leg of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening in Spain. It was a match where United had some of their stars back, Paul Pogba being one of them and boy was he missed whilst he has been on the sidelines through injury but those that do not appreciate him, will be moaning that he did not score three goals, assisting them himself and deny Celta by saving shots on goal too. Still, those who appreciate what Pogba does will understand what I am saying here. United had many chances to make the difference against the Spanish side, with taking the final shots after the creativity of players such as Pogba, were to blame for their chances not being goals. Pogba will be criticised, though as that is the mentality the social media supporters have, probably relying on social media to keep tabs on the match, not actually watching it. United are 90, or 120 minutes if extra time is needed away from a European final, maybe not the one they would like to be in.

After the result in Spain, Jose Mourinho spoke to BT Sport about the result, suggesting it is an open result and alluding to the fact his side will need to be at their best in a week’s time at Old Trafford. Mourinho said:

“I am very pleased with the performance but not with the result. At half time should have been three or at least two but the result is open. We played well enough to have result closed but we have to go and play at Old Trafford.”

Mourinho also praised the goalscorer Marcus Rashford, for his sublime free kick in the 67th minute of the match, saying:

“He’s a 19-year-old kid. But he’s a 19-year-old kid that’s in love with football. A kid that finishes a training session and stays half an hour more to take free-kicks and to wait for the opportunity. It’s his mentality. He works, he works, he works. He’s very mature and let’s forget the age because what matters is not the age, it’s the quality. He started the game with a little problem and obviously with the running and the continuity, he was feeling [it] and [Anthony] Martial was fresh and had to give us the last ten or fifteen minutes where we thought we still could score because [there was] still plenty of space to play.”

United goalkeeper Sergio Romero made his 15th appearances this season for the club keeping his tenth clean sheet, which puts him in the frame of a great stand in goalkeeper when David De Gea does not play, possibly one to replace him at the club if the Spaniard does leave for Real Madrid in the summer.

Chris Smalling, making his return from injury after almost six weeks out on the sidelines, tweeted about the result, along with many of his teammates, which shows that reports of a social media ban were made up by the media earlier in the week. Smalling tweeted about the return leg at Old Trafford, in which United can earn a UEFA Europa League final place, giving them a 50% chance of earning a place in the Champions League next season.

Marcus Rashford, the scorer of the only goal in the match with Celta Viga, was named the Manchester United Man of the Match with 52% of the votes via the club’s Twitter account.

United manager Jose Mourinho spoke about Thursday night’s match with the media in his usual press conference where he discussed the result, the pleasing performance and looking ahead to the next matches. Mourinho started off by talking about the result, of which he was not very pleased with but was pleased with the performance of his side. Mourinho said:

“I’m very pleased with the performance, not so pleased with the result. At half-time, it should be already two [-nil] and the result is open. I think we played enough to have the result closed so next week, big match at Old Trafford. We played well enough to have the result closed but we have to go and play at Old Trafford. We tried to win the match but we missed chances.”

Mourinho went into detail about the performance, which pleased him, saying:

“We tried until the end, from the first minute to try and win the match and score goals but we missed chances, but the team was good, strong and compact. It made a strong atmosphere look nice and did well against a team that is very difficult to play against because of the way they defend with seven, eight, nine players man-to-man and I think we played really well. Very good performance, we had to play against the very negative record of Manchester United in Spain, so it’s good but we have the match at Old Trafford. Let’s hope Old Trafford wants us to win because, when Old Trafford wants, we win so that’s what we want.”

Mourinho closed by talking about the upcoming matches, more importantly, Arsenal away on Sunday which United could further their distance on the fallen North London club with a victory at the Emirates. Mourinho said:

“It’s a short result, it could have been better. Seeing Celta’s trajectory in the Europa League, they definitely deserve respect for the second leg. The players are in accumulation with lots of minutes because we played nine matches in April and now this one, so 10 in four-and-a-half weeks. The players in that accumulation are not going to play this weekend [against Arsenal].”

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