Jose Mourinho had every confidence in his Manchester United players that they would deliver with a strong performance against Middlesbrough.
With the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera missing, Mourinho had to make seven changes from the team which beat Rostov 1-0 on Thursday and a few fringe players had to start in their absence.
Young played superb at left-back and Fellaini grabbed the first goal so they were both influential in the win and speaking after the game, Mourinho made it clear how much he trusts his whole squad to deliver.
“The meaning is great for the group,” Mourinho said.
“So many players not playing. Obviously many people thought today would be very hard for us but the answer was magnificent. I was expecting this kind of answer.
“I knew people like Ashley Young, [Michael] Carrick, Fellaini could deliver. Fellaini played the other day against Rostov and for 40 minutes he was amazing so his form is high.
“Young played in Rostov and played at Stamford Bridge [against Chelsea] so I knew the guys were the answer. So it was very good. I think we played really well until 2-0. When they played direct football they brought Gestede on and they started pushing us back.
“And we accepted that because I brought an extra central defender to cope with it. But it was difficult until the end.”
United’s squad players did an excellent job today and Jesse Lingard in particular who was rightly named man of the match after a performance which saw him bag a brilliant goal to put United 2-0 up.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 19, 2017
Thanks to Antonio Valencia‘s late third, it ended up being comfortable but we didn’t make it easy for ourselves for the last 20 minutes. Overall, without so many of our main starters United did a professional job to come away with three points but let’s not lie – we should be battering Middlesbrough any day of the week.
Now we’re in fifth, the sixth place hoodoo is gone and with an international break we’re getting a much needed rest. Next up is West Brom and a potential opportunity to break into the top four, bring it on.