Jose Mourinho says Manchester United will keep fighting to close the gap to the top of the Premier League following their 3-0 win over Leicester City.
Goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juan Mata sealed the three points for Sunday’s visitors to the King Power Stadium and ended their run of three league draws in a row.
Arsenal’s defeat to Chelsea on Saturday means United are now only two points off the top four, while Liverpool are just a point ahead of them in fifth place after they were surprisingly beaten 2-0 by Hull City.
And Mourinho – who praised his players for a clinical display in the first half – believes his side are very much in the race for the Champions League places.
“We played like we normally play. We played well, we tried to win, obviously the opponent was difficult but that’s something we’re used to,” he told Sky Sports.
“We didn’t have the best start but then we had control, moved the ball well, created chances and scored goals. That’s the only difference – we arrived at half-time with a 2-0 result, and then we controlled the game and it was quite easy.
“I don’t look to rivals, I look to ourselves. I can say that, if we beat Hull City at home and get a point at Leicester, it would be four positive points. We drew at home against Hull and won these three points here. We need a little bit of balance in something we consider to be okay.
“We’re still in the same position but a little bit closer to the others. We keep fighting.”
— Juan Mata García (@juanmata8) February 5, 2017
United surprisingly started with Marcus Rashford alongside Ibrahimovic in a 4-4-2, although they reverted to their accustomed 4-2-3-1 after a difficult opening 20 minutes.
When asked about the tactical switch, Mourinho explained: “We went 4-4-2, the same system as they play. We tried not to give [Wes] Morgan and [Robert] Huth a two-against-one fight against Zlatan, we tried to give him more freedom with Marcus there.
“We were fine but without the same possession we normally have. We changed, we started finding more spaces and then the first goal came. Then everything was easy for us.”
Mata admitted he was a little fortunate not to be sent off for a late tackle on Jamie Vardy in the first half, but Mourinho argued the incident does not change his belief that United have suffered injustice at the hands of officials this season.
“I have to look on TV but if I compare that with what Claudio Bravo did to [Wayne] Rooney in the Manchester City game, what [Oumar] Niasse did in the last game, there is no possible point of comparison,” he added.
“During the season, everything is really going against us. If today is a doubtful decision, it’s one of the few where we were not punished by a bad decision.”