Jose Mourinho continues to be impressed by his players’ character after Manchester United secured a third successive away win to kick off their Champions League campaign in style.
August ended with a shock defeat at Brighton and 3-0 loss to Tottenham at Old Trafford – the heaviest home defeat of the Portuguese’s managerial career.
United responded manfully to the back-to-back defeats, with Premier League wins at Burnley and Watford followed by a comprehensive, albeit not always convincing, 3-0 win at Young Boys in Group H.
Paul Pogba netted twice and assisted Anthony Martial for the other in Bern, where the Red Devils flexed their muscles after being given the odd scare.
“At half-time I told the players this is the third time in a row that we arrive at half-time winning 2-0,” United boss Mourinho said.
“Against Burnley we didn’t finish off, but we didn’t concede. Against Watford we conceded, and we were in trouble. And today we could have more of that or go in the other direction.
“I think our best period was exactly the period in the second half where we scored the third goal and killed the game.
“In the second half, the players were responsible, they were ambitious, they tried to score the third goal to kill the game, so I like that.
“But what I like most is that after two defeats, three matches away and three victories. I don’t say phenomenal performances, but I say three good, solid performances and let’s go back home Saturday.”
Wolves are the visitors this weekend when United return to home comforts – and the grass of Old Trafford.
Mourinho believes the plastic pitch at the Stade de Suisse gave Young Boys the upper hand early on, before Pogba’s moment of quality delivered a gut punch that he added to from the spot.
“I don’t think he can score goals every match,” Mourinho said.
“But the goal he scored today, the first goal is not different than the fantastic save (Watford goalkeeper Ben) Foster had in the last match.
“So, if he starts arriving in possible scoring positions that can be a plus for the team so I’m happy with that.
“But the team had good stability in midfield to allow him to go to these kinds of positions and I’m happy with the good solid performance of the team more than any individual.
“We knew that we needed to win this match and very important for us to go to the next three matches against Valencia and Juventus twice with these three points and we did that.”
Mourinho seemed reluctant to praise Pogba after his impressive display, but the United boss did have kind words for debutant Diogo Dalot and rejuvenated Luke Shaw.
“I want to be also nice to Luke because I think both play at the same level,” the United boss said of his full-back.
“I think Diogo and Luke played very, very well. Our danger came from both of them – they had fantastic movement, depth, crosses, assists.
“They were involved in the most dangerous actions and they also defended well, so I think both of them were very, very good.
“But of course Luke is here for a few years and is playing since beginning of the season. For Diogo, first match for the club after knee surgery. I think a very good solid performance.
“I think everyone could see the potential and everyone could see he is a 19-year-old player that has more than 10 years to play for Manchester United.”
It was the kind of quality that left Young Boys head coach Gerardo Seoane magnanimous in defeat, despite his side dominating in chunks.
“Young Boys had a great start in front of a great crowd,” he said.
“We played fantastic at the beginning. What (we) lacked was the successful finish to score the goal.
“Then it was an unlucky situation and in the end Manchester United showed what they can do, and you have to accept that and congratulate those players for what they did tonight.”
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