London, Feb 12: Manchester United head coach Jose Mourinho said it would have been an injustice to the English Premier League (EPL) game against Watford if his team had not scored in the first half when they played fluent football.
Manchester United defeated Watford 2-0 at home, stretching their unbeaten run to 16 games, with French winger Anthony Martial scoring a brilliant goal on his return to the side’s playing XI after Juan Mata’s first-half opener on Saturday.
“It was beautiful. The period before the first goal was amazing. The crowd was so happy and so enthusiastic because the quality, the chances, the beauty, the football, the movement, the chances, the saves,” Mourinho told the club’s official website.
“It was absolutely amazing. It would have been a football crime if we didn’t score a goal in that period. We scored and it was an important goal for our confidence. It was a little bit of a sense of relief, arriving at half-time winning,” he added.
The Portuguese tactician also revealed that rather than telling his players to score the goal in the first minute, he advised them to play quality football from the start of the game.
“What pleased me most was the way we started the game. I told the players we don’t need to score in the first minute — it’s difficult to score in the first minute and is something out of our control. But, to start playing good football in the first minute, is possible. It’s our responsibility and we have to do that, and we did that,” Mourinho said.
“We started playing well immediately against a team with lots of defenders, a central defender playing left-back, very defensive players who are big, strong and physical. It was difficult but we did that very well, when we were 1-0 in front, we had more space to play and, with the second goal, it put the win totally in our sights,” he added.
United had a raft of chances to inflict more misery on their rivals but scuffed a lot of opportunities.
Mourinho said he brought on Marouane Fellaini to bring more stability to the midfield as his side was uble to take the chances.
“We could kill the game with more goals but we didn’t so I thought, if we don’t kill it one way, by scoring a third goal, I am killing it by bringing on Marouane Fellaini for stability in midfield; to deal with the direct football to Troy Deeney and Stefano Okaka. We did very well and it was very much deserved,” Mourinho said.
The Portuguese coach also praised the French star midfielder Paul Pogba.
“Paul is playing with great balance, great balance. These last two matches, he’s played with his brain. He’s recovering lots of balls and has been very good in his positiol play,” he said about the 105 million euros ($117.2 million) summer signing from Italian champions Juventus.
Asked about his team keeping four back-to-back clean sheets, Mourinho said he is pleased with his side’s rearguard action.
“I’m happy — the team is defending well. Sometimes, we have different reasons to change the defenders but we are defending well as a team. Then, if the goalkeeper makes an important save in a certain moment, like David De Gea did with the Mauro Zarate free-kick, it’s even more important. But, as a team, we’re defending well,” Mourinho said. IANS