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Mourinho: We deserved it, we were the best team

Fresh on a nine-match unbeaten run, Manchester United beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in the Premier League on Wednesday evening. United has been going through a turbulent time recently, winning cup matches, but drawing in the league, against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, that changed with United winning at home in the league for the first tine since the 24th September and the first time in the league since the 6th November. United have turned a corner and, so far, seem to be heading in the right direction. Jose Mourinho’s side still sit in sixth place in the league table, three points behind Spurs, and six points behind Manchester City, but they are slowly getting closer to being able to finish inside the top four this season.

Jose Mourinho praised his Manchester United squad for their battling victory against Palace on Wednesday evening, saying:

“We deserved it, we were the best team, they [Palace] had just a little reaction, just a little reaction, but they had it and they scored a goal in that period. Then we had the best period in the game. In the first half we had control but in the last 20 minutes we were super dominant. We created a lot, had a big desire and we won deservedly in the end.”

The manager also spoke about the club competing with the league leaders this season:

“We are doing enough for that. If we had the points we lost at home in the draws in matches that we did more than enough to win then we would be close to the top of the league, but we lost these points and at this moment we are just closing the gap to the top four positions. There are three more matches before the end of the year and let’s see how it looks on 31 December.”

Mourinho had some praise for Marcos Rojo, who could have been sent off against Palace, just like he could have been against Everton the weekend before last:

“Rojo is playing phenomenal, Jones is playing phenomenal. I didn’t discuss the Danny Rose tackle, I didn’t discuss the David Luiz tackle. I am not going to discuss the Marcos Rojo tackle. He is an aggressive, clean player, probably playing the best football of his career.”

Mourinho also had praise for Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as without these players, United may not have beaten Palace:

“I think they both were phenomenal during the game. The pass obviously is fantastic, the movement is great, the shot is good, but for me I probably prefer what Zlatan did after the goal because that was phenomenal. He played in front of the back four, winning every ball in the air, controlling on the chest, cooling down the play, he is phenomenal. It is not just the goals that he scores, it is not just the goal that gives us three points, it is the leadership, the desire, the passion. Fantastic!”

Mourinho also praised the Manchester United supporters, saying:

“They were fantastic and they are fantastic every day. For the players, to win in such a difficult place is fantastic. For us it was difficult to arrive here as well. We took one hour and 50 minutes from the hotel to arrive here because the traffic was so bad. We arrived here at 7pm, everything was so quick because 10 minutes after we should have been in the warm-ups. Everything was difficult for us, too, because maybe we felt this empathy between the players and the fans.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic also praised the club’s supporters:

Eric Bailly was injured again, his other knee, which could see him ruled out for the festive period. Speaking after the match, Mourinho said:

“We don’t know [yet]. It is not the same knee, it is the other one. It is the left knee. So he is not coming back to a previous injury. Of course he has a problem with another dimension but he showed amazing character to try and try, and try until his limit.

“The only thing I can say is that it is not the same knee. He had an injury in the right knee and he recovered fantastically well. Now it is the left knee. I don’t know really what he has, but let us see and wait. He could resist for so long. I would say for about 75 minutes he could resist. He is a special guy and his pain level is really high.”

Michael Carrick also spoke to MUTV after the victory, saying:

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