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Dublin: 9°C Friday 7 May 2021

Mourinho hails makeshift defence

Manchester United’s defence earned the praise of Jose Mourinho following a 3-1 win at Swansea City.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho watched today's game from the stands.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho watched today's game from the stands.

JOSE MOURINHO PRAISED the efforts of his makeshift defence following a 3-1 Premier League victory for Manchester United over Swansea City on Sunday.

Injuries to Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw left Mourinho short of options at the back, while Daley Blind was only fit enough for the bench.

United played with a back four of Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo in south Wales, only conceding once the three points were all but secured by Paul Pogba’s opener and a Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace.

“I’m really pleased,” Mourinho, who served his one-match touchline ban in the stands, told MUTV. ”I think for all of us from the United side it was a calm day.

“I think since the first minute we felt that we were in the game, that we were stable and that we were in control.

“The players were really good in their focus, in their effort, in their concentration.

“Following the gameplan I think they were really good and I’m very happy for all of them, but especially for people like Ashley Young, playing outside his position,  and Phil Jones – brave guy to say ‘I’m ready for the team’ when he wasn’t ready.

“After two or three months without kicking a ball he was ready only [in the head], but [in the head] is where it matters.

“I’m happy for Marcos playing his third consecutive match as a central defender, I’m happy for Matteo because left-back is not his position, so the defensive line showed great personality. I’m pleased for them.”

Ibrahimovic’s goals ended a run of six matches without a goal for the United forward and took him to 400 in his club career.

“He’s a great player for the team,” Mourinho added. ”Okay today he scored goals, he didn’t in the past few matches, but that doesn’t matter at all.

“One thing is a striker who doesn’t score goals and doesn’t do anything else. Another thing is a striker that doesn’t score goals but does everything else.

“During this period where he was not scoring goals he did everything else for the team. So I’m very happy that he’s back to scoring.”

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