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What Was Said: Jose Mourinho – We had the results; three very solid, compact performances

Manchester United beat Leicester City 2-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday, making it three wins in three matches at the start of the season, the same as last season. This season has been slightly different though. United seem to be full of confidence, which at this stage cannot be anything more than feeling good, looking good and the three wins in a row adding to that. United have better players, which were needed from last season and have an attacking line which can create and score goals. Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have been better players this season with Pogba scoring twice this season already and Mkhitaryan assisting five goals in three games.

The international break will be the big test for United, this was where they fell foul last season, facing Manchester City immediately after the break, losing 2-1 and then going to lose the first UEFA Europa League match and another Premier League clash, three defeats in a row. This is where complacency for United started and the season became difficult thereafter. Jose Mourinho will be looking to make the changes which make his team different from last season why is why he seems to be playing down the fact that Manchester United are top of the league, three weekends running, scoring ten goals and conceding none. After the match, speaking to MUTV and BT Sport the following players and managers said:

Jose Mourinho on Leicester City and the way they defended in the 2-0 defeat to United:

“The blue wall was very well organised and I always give credit for that. They defended amazingly well, but we kept calm and kept control of the game. If I had to find the words to describe my team I would say solid. I think this season there is a difference in the quality of our football, we are playing better.”

Marcus Rashford on it being one of those games for Manchester United just before he helped get three points in the bag:

“You do think it’s going to be one of those days when you’re watching the game. We have players that are in the starting XI and the players that are on the bench to try and make the difference and this year I feel like we have more fire power and different dimensions of playing styles, so we put ourselves in better stead for games like this which are difficult.”

Paul Pogba on United having many chances and how the substitutes made an impact in the game, something which could be said for all three matches so far:

“We had so many chances. I was a bit scared but we kept pushing and I think this season the luck has turned our way. That’s why we need depth, we always say get ready because the substitutes can make an impact on the game and they did today so we’re very happy with that.”

Juan Mata on winning three out of three ahead of the international break:

“Nine points out of nine, I am happy before the international break but we have our feet on the ground. We created enough chances to score today and I think we are the deserved winners. It was a convincing performance and it felt like we were never going to score, but finally we did. The starting 11, we tried our best but it was very important that the three substitutes gave us a lot.”

Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the importance of the victory, not how you win:

“A win is a win, it doesn’t matter if you win 4-0 or 2-0. The most important [thing is] that you win. It was very, very good that we have won and we have [won] three out of three.”

Paddy Crerand on Manchester United’s terrific display:

“Another terrific display by United and it’s great to see the defence conceding no goals again. There’s so many players in the squad now, top-class players who are all fighting for their place in the team.”

Craig Shakespeare on Manchester United’s set-pieces being Leicester’s Achilles heel:

“When you come to Old Trafford in the form they are in, they will have big moments. We had our moments too but could not see the game through. Set pieces are our Achilles heel at the moment. We need to organise and set things up better.”

In his post-match press conference, Mourinho went into much more detail about his sides third victory in a row in the Premier League this season. The manager started by talking about his player’s positivity, saying:

“I think we played very well. The result was open at 0-0. The blue wall was very well organised and I always give credit for that. They defended very well. After the goal, I have to say we were very good. If I have to choose a word to describe my team, I would have to say solid. All the players are motivated. They are on the bench waiting for a chance.”

Mourinho then spoke about the substitutions; Marcus Rashford, Marouane Fellaini and Jesse Lingard, and the impact all three made – Rashford scoring a goal, Lingard creating one for Fellaini, saying:

“I’m happy for them – all of them working hard, trying to be in the line-up. They are on the bench, they get one minute on the pitch and ready to give everything. I saw [Ander] Herrera on the bench, screaming, speaking, helping players and he wasn’t on the pitch. This is the group we have and the team we have.”

The Portuguese manager also spoke about patience and how it paid off for his team at Old Trafford, saying:

“It could be [one of those days] but the reality is that last season, for example against Bournemouth, we lost a penalty but after the penalty, we were emotionally in trouble and this time we missed a penalty and we weren’t emotionally in trouble. We kept playing and then I made the changes to intensify the dynamic in attack and to bring [on] Marcus [Rashford] who is obviously a completely different player than [Juan] Mata and then we score and Marouane [Fellaini] to play instead of Micki [Henrikh Mkhitaryan] who had a yellow card to control the aerial space in front of our box. So, I have the options, the players are giving me the answers and I’m really happy with this first month of the season.”

Mourinho also spoke about quality making the difference, saying:

“The difference is the quality of our football, we’re playing better and if we hadn’t won this match I wouldn’t have anyone to blame. The team is playing very well and I’m very confident. We are comfortable on the ball and dangerous on the counterattack. But nine points after three matches is nothing different for us because we did that last season.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic rejoined Manchester United on Thursday for another year, something which had been talked about for a few days. Mourinho did confirm that the Swedish striker would be back in the second half of the season, confirming that after the 2-0 victory over Leicester City, saying:

“He will be back in January. When the market is open and people are spending money we don’t. But we get a player who was fundamental for us last season. He comes to give us extra quality in the second half of the season.”

Mourinho concluded by talking about United’s perfect start to the new season, saying:

“No [we couldn’t have hoped for better] but I repeat, last season was the same, but the only difference was that last season we had the results but not great performances and I think these three matches, we had the results and three very solid and compact performances.”  

Manchester United will now be out of action for a fortnight because of the first international break of the season. The first game back will be against Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium on the 9th September, days later United commencing their UEFA Champions League season at Old Trafford against Swiss side FC Basel. United will see the fixtures coming thick and fast in September, which should test the squad as they will need to rotate to maintain freshness throughout the busy months, that being until December then the final Champions League match will be played with January seeing United’s start in the Emirates FA Cup. United do have the squad to deal with the pressure, that was proven last season and now with three new signings, a fourth coming in the form of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in January, when he will be back for United, the players should be positive of what is still to come.
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