Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has praised his team's fighting spirit ahead of this afternoon's Manchester derby. The Portuguese helped mastermind a shock comeback against Juventus during United's midweek Champions League clash, a result that many believe could begin a new chapter in an otherwise disappointing season for the Red Devils.
The ability to score late winners was one of the cornerstones of the Manchester United teams that achieved huge success under Sir Alex Ferguson. United have perhaps lost some of that cutting edge since the decorated Scot retired in 2013, but if the last few weeks are anything to go by, they certainly haven't lost their fighting spirit.
Since the beginning of October, the Red Devils have overturned deficits to Newcastle, Chelsea, and Bournemouth in the Premier League, earning plaudits for their late displays, but also drawing criticism for their slow starts.
Approaching their Champions League fixture last Wednesday, few expected Jose Mourinho's side to put up much of a fight against a dynamic Juventus side fronted by Cristiano Ronaldo, but after going 1-0 down early in the second-half, the Red Devils scored two late goals to claim one of their most important victories under Jose Mourinho. In many ways, it was a classic Mourinho away win, influenced by reactive tactics and cunning substitutions, but the enigmatic manager believes that his team's mentality was the most important factor.
“We are a team that has that collective spirit to fight back but it is not always possible.” said Mourinho. “So if we keep conceding goals before the opponent we will arrive at the day where we cannot come back so we have to make sure that we grow up, not just in our approach, but also in our compactness [in order to] start matches well.
“Against Juventus, I have to say that happened. We conceded a goal in minute 60 or something like that and we had a good start. I would even say that in the first 15 or 20 minutes we were totally in control.”
“We played two difficult matches away against two very good teams, Chelsea and Juventus, and we managed to get good results,” Mourinho said.
“And even if the good results were not in our pocket, the performances were there. The positive attitude was there so we are going to try.
“But Manchester City is a very powerful team.”
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