Jose Mourinho’s post-match comments have been bizarre and weird lately and the Manchester United manager delivered another elementary meme following his side’s 3-1 win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Portuguese tactician named a much changed team for the Premier League trip with stellar performers like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all absent.
However, the Red Devils were composed in front of adversity to muster an entertaining display to record a vital away victory courtesy of goals by Marouane Fellaini, Jesse Lingard and Antonio Valencia which led to Mourinho praising his patched-up team after the game.
“The attitude, the desire and our way of thinking. We don’t have A, B, C, D, E, F and G but we have L, M, N, S, O, P,” Mourinho said.
“These guys gave absolutely everything. I think we started the game very well. Valdes made three fantastic saves before our first goal and we controlled everything until our second goal. And then they changed the play with Gestede and Negredo, they started putting long balls in the box.
“We decided to defend with an extra defender but I think with the mistake of letting them push too much inside our box and it was a fighting 15 minutes.
“They didn’t have chances but they had the ball in dangerous areas so the game was alive until the last second.
“It is fantastic because we manage in the same week to go to the quarter-final of the Europa League, which is an important target for us.
“We got these three points which keep us in the race for the top four so we still have two doors open to play Champions League football next season so that’s the good thing.
“But obviously it was too much for us: Rostov away, Chelsea with 10-men, Rostov again and now Middlesbrough. Injured player, tired players, suspended players. These guys today were magnificent.”
Villain Belgian midfielder Fellaini powered home a header to open the scoring before England winger Lingard doubled United’s lead just after half time. Rudy Gestede pulled one back for the home side before Valencia capitalised on a Victor Valdes slip to tap home into an empty net and seal the win.
The important win over ‘Brough closes the gap on the top four and leaves Mourinho’s men fighting for Champions League qualification on two fronts after leapfrogging Arsenal and Everton to move into fifth position.