MANCHESTER, Sporting Alert – His team beat Galatasaray 5-2 in a pre-season game on Saturday, but Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says there is still work to do, noting that the focus remains on getting ready for the new season.
The Red Devils trailed 2-1 at half-time even though they took a 1-0 lead in the opening four minutes of the contest in Gothenburg through an acrobatic overhead kick from new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Mourinho’s team talk and a few adjustments at the interval saw the English Premier League side rallying to score four unanswered goals in the second half, including a brace from Wayne Rooney, playing the No. 10 role.
However, despite the comeback win, Mourinho remains grounded, revealing that the result was not the main focus, as he was happier about his players getting valuable training minutes on the pitch.
“The most important thing was to play, to give minutes to the players,” the Portuguese coach said on www.manutd.com. “To the ones that played less, they played 30 minutes. To the ones that played the most, they had 60, 65 minutes.
“They need to play. We lost a week in China and some of the boys who played today, they trained for two days.
“We made that decision to give them 30 or 45 minutes of the game, feeling that it would be better for them than even a double training session. So that’s the most important thing.”
After missing the first two pre-season outings, Mourinho handed goalkeeper David De Gea, defender Matteo Darmian, midfielders Morgan Schneiderlin, Marouane Fellaini and forwards Anthony Martial, Rooney and Ibrahimovic pre-season debuts under his guidance.
The former Chelsea manager praised the overall effort from his squad at Ullevi Stadium, while taking the time to single out a few players.
Asked about the contributions of Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford, Mourinho said: “I think everyone gave everything to improve.
“And even with the guys who came on at 4-2, I told them to forget the result, don’t play like we are winning 4-2. ‘You need this 30 minutes to play high tempo, high intensity, forget the 4-2.’
“That’s what they all tried to do. Of course, Marcus did well. Of course, Ibra did show glimpses of the things he can bring us. But when I see guys like Fellaini, Martial, Schneiderlin, they trained two days and they can be here.
“I told them, ‘Don’t try to go with the intensity of the game, go with an intensity that makes you comfortable.'”
The former Real Madrid and Inter Milan boss added: “I prefer this way, I prefer that they are on the pitch so I am happy.
“I am happy with the opposition, they played already six or seven matches so they were in a higher tempo than us. I am happy with it all.
“And I am happy that out of such a big group we have just Timothy [Fosu-Mensah] and Chris Smalling with little injuries and apart from them, no injuries and everything looks like it’s going well.”
Manchester United will be in action again on Wednesday against Everton in the Wayne Rooney Testimonial match at Old Trafford.
Mourinho has already revealed that the result in this game is of little interest to him as well, noting that he will be using the match to give his players some more much needed minutes.
“I will train 22 players. I don’t care for the result too much, I want to give minutes to everyone and that’s good, step by step,” he said.