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Mourinho: I was expecting a difficult match, I was not expecting to win by four or five

Manchester United put a foot into a possible cup final at Wembley by beating Hull City 2-0 at Old Trafford in the semi-final first leg of the EFL Cup on Tuesday evening. An early second half goal from Juan Mata, assisted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and a late header by Marouane Fellaini were enough to send United into the second leg in just over a fortnight’s time in good stead. It was not the greatest match we had seen, but nine victories in a row and the club extending their unbeaten streak to 15 matches is a great achievement, especially after the barren last three seasons. The EFL Cup may not be the one United really want to win, but a trophy is a trophy and that is all that matters.

Jose Mourinho on Marouane Fellaini’s goal, a player he celebrated with in the aftermath, being an important one:

“I was expecting a difficult match, I was not expecting to win by four or five. 1-0 for me would always be a good result but 2-0 is better. It doesn’t end the semi-final, we are not at Wembley, but the second goal is maybe the important goal.”

Mourinho on the first half not being the best half of football, which I have to agree was the case:

“Of course they were very well organised defensively [in the first half] like I was expecting and it was not easy for us. But I think we were a bit sloppy, we complicated things with always one more touch, always delaying the decision and giving them time to regroup. And it was not our best first half. I think in the first half the players have to do better, I have to do better, the fans – they also have to do better. In the second half, we all improved a little bit, just a little bit.”

Mourinho on the hug from Fellaini, which was a touching celebration from the burly Belgian:

“I think he wanted to show that he knows how much I supported him in a couple of difficult moments for him. It was probably because I told him you are going to score the second goal, I don’t know. It was nice for him to score in front of the fans and the second goal that can be an important goal.”

Mourinho on looking ahead to Sunday’s visit of Liverpool, the most important match of the week:

“Now this game is over, I think about Sunday. And Sunday, I need to do better, the players need to do better and the stadium has to do better too. Everybody likes big games – players, managers, fans… everyone loves big matches so let’s go for that one on Sunday.”

Mourinho on making it ten victories in a row in all competitions with a win against Liverpool at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday:

“Yeah nine victories is obviously very important, six in the Premier League so let’s try 10, seven in the Premier League. But I think we all have to improve [on tonight] if we want that.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was missing from the victory over Hull City on Tuesday evening due to illness. When asked whether he was a doubt for Sunday’s match, Mourinho said:

“Zlatan is ill so I think no problem, I think he will be fine.”

Marcos Rojo limped off after just twenty minutes in the 4-0 victory over Reading in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday, missing from the match against Hull, Mourinho was asked if he could be back in action on Sunday, with United feeling the limits of their defence at this stage of the season with the absence of Eric Bailly, who is playing in the Africa Cup of Nations:

“I don’t know [if Rojo will be fit]. Marcos has a muscular problem, not big. I’m not saying he’s not ready to play, I’m saying that I have my doubts.”

Juan Mata named Manchester United’s Man of the Match:

Chris Smalling on the perfect preparation for Sunday’s Premier League clash with Liverpool:

Man of the Match Juan Mata on his all-important first goal against Hull City:

Henrikh Mkhitaryan on Manchester United winning streak:

Nine wins in a row in all competitions, 15 matches unbeaten in all competitions. Manchester United are in resurgent form:

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