Manchester United overcame Middlesborough on New Year’s Eve in the most dramatic of circumstances, as they scored two goals in the last five minutes to come back and claim victory.
But while Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was relieved to have secured all three points, he also admitted that he was sad that he’d beaten Aitor Karanka. Karanka previously was the assistant manager at Real Madrid when Jose Mourinho was in charge. Clearly the pair have a very close relationship, because after Manchester United stunned Middlesborough to come back and win at Old Trafford Mourinho was visibly disheartened by hurting the man he referred to as his “brother.”
Shortly after Manchester United’s contest with Middlesborough, Jose Mourinho spoke to the BBC, and made his mixed emotions very clear.
Mourinho remarked with the following.
“It’s a very good feeling, as I was expecting I don’t feel the same happiness because my brother is on the other side. Aitor Karanka did his job amazing away but my ‘brother’ is sad so I’m sad. My players were phenomenal. We managed to do something I love – bring the fans to the pitch. The last 15 minutes were 70,000 on the pitch against 11.”
Despite dominating the contest, going into the last 10 minutes of the match Manchester United looked like they were going to somehow conspire to lose to Middlesborough. Grant Leadbitter gave Middlesborough the lead in the 67th minute following a clever head down from Alvaro Negredo.
Before then Manchester United had struck the post on two occasions, with Paul Pogba doing so with a overhead kick and Anthony Martial hitting the same part of the woodwork with a long-range effort. Martial had been Middlesborough’s chief tormentor throughout the contest, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic also had a goal cruelly ruled out for a supposed high boot on goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
But it was Anthony Martial who saved Manchester United’s blushes, converting Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s smart header down with a cool finish in the 85th minute. At that point Manchester United were suddenly in the ascendency, and just over a minute later Juan Mata crossed for Paul Pogba to head home and immediately sent the Old Trafford faithul into raptures.
After the contest Jose Mourinho spoke about just how important it was to have the fans on their side in the match, insisting that they made the difference as Manchester United looked to come back and win.
According to the Guardian, Mourinho remarked in the post-match press conference,
“We managed to do something that is amazing, which is to bring the fans to the pitch. I think, we did that in the last 15 or 20 minutes, we played with 70,000 or 80,000 I don’t know how many there are, we played with them on the pitch. It was too much for a team that was very well organized.”
Jose Mourinho also praised Manchester United’s supporters for the way that they have backed the club over the last few months since he was appointed. While Manchester United have now won five Premier League contests on the trot, before then they’d won just two out of 11 games. But Mourinho believes that despite this poor patch of form, the fans were always on his side because of their attacking style. Mourinho insisted,
“I think the fans are loving the way the team plays. Sometimes with good results, sometimes not so good. I think they love the way we try to play football, they love the ideas and attitudes. I don’t think would kill me if we lost 2-0 when we played 2 against 2 in the back. I don’t think they’d kill me because it’s related to how they play football, too. So it was a big victory for us.”
[Featured Image by Getty/Alex Livesey]