Jose Mourinho: We played well, we tried to win

Manchester United beat reigning Premier League champions Leicester City 3-0 at the King Power Stadium on Sunday evening, their third victory over the club this season, completing the double in the league. Leicester have been defeated too many times to still class themselves as the champions, but until another team has won the title, they are still the champions and that must be embarrassing for them. Last season, Leicester took advantage of so many of the top clubs not doing enough, and that was enough for them to have a fairytale ending to the season, and play in the UEFA Champions League this season, which saw them reaching the knockout stages, which may see them head further into the competition. As for the league, though, that is over and relegation could yet call for the, with safety a way off at this moment in time. United needed to take advantage of their rivals Arsenal and Liverpool who were both defeated by Chelsea and Hull City respectively. United did what was needed.

Juan Mata on the performance against Leicester City in which Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored before the break and the Spaniard added the third in the second half:

“I think the performance was quite good. Even before scoring the first goal, we were trying to control the game through passes and trying to have the ball. Micki scored an incredible goal and, after that, we played really good and scored twice more, so we are really happy today because we took our chances.”

United manager Jose Mourinho was happy with the victory, which saw United playing well and doing what they needed to do in order to get the points needed:

“I think we played like we normally play. We played well, we tried to win. Obviously the opponent is difficult but that’s something we are used to. We didn’t have the best start – in the first 15 or 20 minutes. But then we started to have control, we moved the ball around, we created chances, we scored goals. That’s the only difference – that we arrived at half-time with a 2-0 result. Then we controlled the game and it was quite easy.”

Mourinho on the formation change from 4-4-2, which seemed to change the game for United:

“We went to a 4-4-2, the same system as they play. We tried not to give [Leicester’s centre-backs] Morgan and Huth a two-against-one fight and target with Zlatan. We tried to give more freedom to Zlatan by playing with Marcus there. We were fine, we were quite stable in the game but without the quality of the possession we normally have and the control of the game. Then we changed and we started finding more spaces, then the first goal came and everything became easy for us.”

Mourinho on Manchester United taking their chances:

“We missed the first big chance, for Rashford, after some amazing football. If he hits the shot well, it’s an amazing goal. But then the second chance, third chance, fourth chance – goals. And then the game is in our hands. We are very good by keeping the ball, controlling the game and killing the opponent’s emotion, but we need to score goals and we did that.”

The Portuguese manager also spoke about Manchester United’s global performance:

“There were many good performances. The global performance was very good and there were many good individual performances; obviously Micki with the goal and assist and some amazing actions come into the eye, but I could name many players with very good individual performances.”

Mourinho on Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring his 20th goal this season; his 15th in the Premier League:

“Normally when strikers score goals we say ’22 goals – 14 goals and eight penalties’, or ’21 goals – 14 goals and seven penalties’. With Zlatan we need to remind ourselves it’s 20 goals – 19 and one penalty.”

Mourinho on Manchester United putting pressure on their rivals at this stage of the season:

“I don’t know if we put pressure on. I know that we are there. We are going to have a much more difficult season than them and we are in a difficult situation but we are there. The team plays well; the team has given us a reason to trust them until the end.”

Henrikh Mkhitaryan on Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring his twentieth goal this season against Leicester City:

“I think no-one is surprised because this is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. You have to expect this kind of performance. I’m sure that he’s going to score more than 20; he can maybe score 30 to 35 goals this season, if not more, because everyone knows that he’s a big, big star. I’m just excited and glad that he keeps scoring a lot of goals.”

Juan Mata, who scored United’s third goal this afternoon, spoke about Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s performance this season:

“He still has a lot of games to go until the end of the season and I’m sure he will score a lot more. But obviously it’s his first year in England, his first time at Manchester United and in the Premier League and he is in February with 20 goals. It’s a great record but I’m sure he’ll want more.”

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copyright: JW

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