Jose Mourinho congratulated by Ed Woodward as boss lauds Marouane Fellaini after Manchester United’s incredible victory at Juventus
JOSE MOURINHO received a huge pat on the back from Ed Woodward as Manchester United arrived back home from a famous win at Juventus in the early hours.
The Red Devils’ Champions League hopes looked to be in tatters after former Old Trafford favourite Cristiano Ronaldo fired the Italian side ahead.
However a stunning free-kick from sub Juan Mata in the 86th minute and an own goal from Alex Sandro in the final seconds completed a remarkable turnaround to secure victory.
But with Sunday’s Manchester derby against City on the horizon, United’s stars had little time to savour their triumph in Turin as they immediately headed back to England.
Mourinho and his men touched down back on home turf around 4.30am with the adrenaline still seemingly pumping after the huge win.
There were smiles and thumbs-up all around as the United party made their way through arrivals in front of the cameras.
But it was the warm embrace between vice-executive chairman Woodward and Mourinho that told the best story.
Tension between the chief and manager mounted over the summer as the powerbroker failed to bring in the central defender the Portuguese coach craved.
Now after three straight victories the relationship looks to be on the mend as Woodward and Mourinho shared a warm embrace before departing to their separate home with a handshake.
Goalscorer Mata was introduced from the bench with just over ten minutes to go along with Marouane Fellaini.
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Despite it being the Spaniard who found the net to draw United level, Mourinho believes the return of the giant Belgian after a month on the sidelines was key to the comeback.
Mourinho said: “I think he was important to make the team alive again because when you concede the goal the team had a period of, by the psychological point of view, we went down a little bit and then Juventus was finally in control and was finally dangerous in the counter attack.
“And Fellaini gave us an option to be alive again by playing direct, by bringing the game again to the last third and by being in last third was giving us the chance to create situations like we did.
“We start winning first balls in the air, Massimiliano [Allegri] had to react, had to bring [Andrea] Barzagli, when he bring Barzagli, [Juan] Cuadrado goes out, and their counter-attack is less dangerous because they are trying to control.
“And then we create, we create a Rashford shot I thought was a goal and the free-kick Mata scored beautifully, and that lateral free-kick I still don’t know who scored. But all I know is we just put the ball in the net.”
United now sit second in the Group H behind two points behind leaders Juventus and could seal qualification for the knockouts when Young Boys visit the North West in three weeks.