Jose Mourinho has paid tribute to his players who weren’t fully fit but helped Manchester United defeat Leicester City 2-1 at Old Trafford on Friday night.
Man United’s 2018-19 Premier League campaign couldn’t have got off to a better start as Paul Pogba confidently converted a penalty after just three minutes before Luke Shaw netted his first career goal, and what proved to be the winner, late on.
The 2018 World Cup this summer in Russia has hit plenty of top-flight clubs, including United, hard and many key players won’t be available throughout the opening weekend.
Mourinho has saluted those who made it to the latter stages of the tournament and still put their bodies on the line for the cause, stating on Sky Sports: “They want [to] but some can’t [play]. Some of them clearly they couldn’t [play] – for example, [Nemanja] Matic went directly to hospital, direct to surgery.
“Jesse doesn’t feel in the conditions to help us. Paul said: ‘Yes, okay’. Romelu said not to start but, from the bench, I can give you a hand. This is what we need at this time. We don’t have our team but we have a team.
“A team that wants to compete. All the boys with good spirits to try to help, if not for 90 minutes, then for a few minutes.”
United should have stronger options available in time for the trip down to Brighton & Hove Albion next Sunday, with the already-present players gathering much more match fitness over the next week.
There were plenty of positives to take from the Leicester victory and Mourinho will want his squad to go on as they’ve started in their bid to clinch a 21st Premier League title this season.