Jose Mourinho is very pleased with Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Middlesbrough, as he believes it gives them two doors to the UCL.
The portugese manager said a draw would have been an acceptable result given the schedule of his team, but a win thanks to goals from Lingard, Fellaini and Valencia won it for the Red Devils, with Gestede scoring the only goal for Middlesbrough.
United are now three points behind the top four and into the quarterfinal of the Europa league, a situation that is pleasing to Mourinho.
“I’m super happy,” he told BBC Sport. “The attitude of the boys was magnificent. I made them feel important, trusted.
“We organised the team to come here and do what we did until the second goal: defend well, don’t concede, be dangerous on the counter-attack, play with the fast boys in front.
“Until two-zero, the game was the game we wanted. Then they played direct football with Gestede and [Alvaro] Negredo, we brought an extra defender in [Marcos Rojo] to cope with that, but our mistake was that we let them push.
“You are always worried, especially when you miss chances like we did in the first half. Anything can happen with big football, with tall, direct players. It was open until the end.
“I was exactly expecting this. I knew that that answer would be positive, according to the qualities of my players. I cannot expect Marcus [Rashford] to be Zlatan [Ibrahimovic], [Michael] Carrick to be [Paul] Pogba, or Ashley Young to be [Daley] Blind. But they have their qualities.
“The good thing is that the group is really United. It’s a group of friends, a group of guys, everybody fights for everybody. The spirit is fantastic.
“We have two doors open for Champions League football, so we will try for the Europa League and for fourth place in the Premier League, and see what happens.”