Mourinho: It's clear this team is growing
Jose Mourinho lauded his United side as ‘a team that always finds a way to fight back’, when he spoke to the media ahead of this weekend’s Manchester derby.
However, the Portuguese also warned his men that they must start games better on a more consistent basis, so that comebacks like the one against Juventus on Wednesday are not always required.
But the boss was full of praise for United’s collective mentality, and believes the side is showing clear signs of development, after a run of games that saw them come from behind to win against Newcastle, Bournemouth and Juventus, and perform positively away at Chelsea.
“If you want to go in a positive way, [it] is easy to feel that we are not a team that gives up,” said Mourinho. “We are a team that always finds a way to fight back. [But] we can go to the other side: why do we always concede before the opponent?
“Sometimes changing results, sometimes not, we are a team that has that collective spirit to fight back. But it is not always possible so if we keep conceding goals before the opponent, the day when we cannot come back will arrive.”
Although United came from behind again to win in Turin – to administer Juventus’s first defeat of the season – the manager admitted the team had made a much better start in the Allianz Stadium than we saw in the games against Newcastle, Chelsea and Bournemouth.
“Juventus – we conceded the goal in minute 60 or something like that, [after] we had a good start. I would even say that for the first 15-20 minutes, we were totally in control.
“We have to make sure that we grow up,” Jose continued. “Not just in our approach, because that I think is clear that the team is growing up, but we also have to grow up in our compactness and to start matches well, which I have to say, against Juventus, it happened.”
But with free-scoring City next on the menu, Mourinho is understandably keen for his team to gain control of matches as early as possible. The Blues have knocked in 12 goals in their last two home games - against Southampton and Shakhtar Donetsk - although United do have the positive memory of last season's remarkable 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium to provide confidence ahead of Sunday's contest.