Jose Mourinho stressed the Reds' win over Leicester was a positive start to the new campaign, given the lack of match fitness of many of his returning Manchester United players.
Paul Pogba’s first-half penalty and a Luke Shaw strike were enough to secure a 2-1 victory for the Reds, despite a consolation from Foxes substitute Jamie Vardy late on.
Read the key comments from the boss as he spoke to Sky Sports as well as reporters in his press conference….
A GOOD WAY TO START THE PREMIER LEAGUE
“I think Mr [Richard] Scudamore must be happy because it's a good way to start the Premier League. It was a good match with three good teams, in my opinion. The match was good, the referee was as always very good – Andre [Marriner] is very good. Leicester were very good too, good work by Claude [Puel]. [They have] very good players. Fantastic investment, amazing squad. They are surely going to have a very good season.
"A match where I needed six changes not three, [Three] weren’t enough for me. I want to play [Anthony] Martial for [Juan] Mata or Alexis but I couldn’t. Paul Pogba couldn’t play 90 minutes, Fred the same. I needed more changes, but I couldn’t so it was not easy to manage the game from the touchline point of view.
“But I told the players we had very good periods, we had lots of glimpses of the football we wanted to play. Leicester were strong in a few periods of the game, but we coped with that as a team which is also an important thing. The team played as a team in these difficult moments. But, of course, in the second half, I had Andreas Pereira and Fred both with a yellow card. Paul [Pogba] was fantastic - his contribution was amazing, but the fuel was disappearing every minute, so we were in trouble and we needed [Scott] McTominay and [Marouane] Fellaini to give me that balance in midfield. But at the same time, I feel I wanted more attack and I feel that Martial coming into the game in the last 20 minutes for Alexis could have given us the second goal to kill the game. But I couldn't make that change, so it was really hard. But the players gave everything, they gave what they had. I told them to give everything they had. You have 10 minutes, you give 10 minutes. Marouane told me he couldn’t give me more than 10 minutes, okay but give me 10 minutes. Everybody did that in a fantastic way.”
EVERY GAME IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE IS TOUGH
“Obviously, it's important to win and play well. I think we played well in periods and we played against a good team that invests more than us. They spent more money than us so I think in the Premier League, we must get used to teams who have players of the same quality that we have. Forget the name, forget the history, forget the shirt, every team is a good team and every match is difficult, so three points in the first match of the season after such a difficult pre-season, with boys who only had three days of training, was important. Of course, it will be a difficult season for everybody, not just for us. But for us, it will be a difficult season because I had my plans for many months and I find myself in the beginning of the Premier League with the market closed in a situation I did not think I would be in. It's the last time I speak about it. It's over, it’s finished, the market is closed and no more talk about it. I think football is changing and probably football managers now should be called more head coaches. We have big multi-functional coaching staff and I think we are more the head coach than the manager. That’s the way football is going.”
United 2 Leicester 1 Gallery
The best images from our opening match of the new Premier League season.
PLEASED FOR SHAW AND PEREIRA
“I am very pleased for Luke Shaw – not just with that [the goal] but he made one mistake in 90 minutes. It was the kind of mistake where probably the linesman could help him and give a free-kick for us and resolve the problem. He was very good defensively, he was good with the ball, he coped physically well, he had a good pre-season, he was one of the guys that had a complete pre-season playing every match and training for five weeks. He’s one of the guys like Andreas Pereira and I don’t want to leave you without saying about Andreas Pereira. He’s a right-winger that at Valencia spent the season on the bench and from the bench at Valencia as a right-winger he came to Old Trafford as the no.6 and played a phenomenal match.”
POGBA TAKING THE PENALTY
“The thinking was he is a very good penalty taker and he likes the responsibility of it and he is the first choice. Of course, we have on the pitch, a second or third choice in case of not being confident or for some reason he doesn’t want to take. He was ready and, of course, he trained a lot of penalties during the World Cup because it’s something that in a competition like that it’s something that every player trains a lot. He was very confident and [Kasper] Schmeichel is very good on penalties but [he had] no chance. The run doesn’t matter – what matters is the quality and the intensity. You could feel that the direction was impossible for Schmeichel. I think if Schmeichel goes to the same corner, he could only arrive [at the ball] with wings, so it was a fantastic penalty.”