WATCH - 'I was surprised he gave him permission' - Jose Mourinho's confession after Watford thriller
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho admitted he was surprised Paul Pogba allowed Ashley Young to take a first half free-kick that propelled his side towards a victory against Watford at Vicarage Road.
United appeared to be cruising to victory as they stormed into a 3-0 lead with two goals from Young and a fine strike from Anthony Martial, but Watford sniffed a dramatic comeback until Jesse Lingard’s late run and finish sealed a 4-2 win.
Yet it was a first half decision from Young to take a free-kick that 25th minute free kick that curled into the top corner that stunned Mourinho, as he expected club record signing Paul Pogba to take the effort.
"I was surprise that Paul gave him permission," declared Mourinho. "I was not surprised with his shot because we know his shot is good. His percentage in training is good, but in that position, I was expecting Paul to take."
United's latest win allowed them to move within five point of their neighbours Manchester City before they take on Southampton on Wednesday, yet Mourinho had some complaints about his side’s second half display.
“Our of nothing, the game became 3-1 and it was different,” he told BT Sport. “They became full of confidence, they had nothing to lose. For them to lose 3-0 or 5-0 it was exactly the same and from a position when we should have been smoking cigars, were in trouble.
“The second half should have been five or 6-0, it was easier to score than the first. We missed chances. It was an easy match to win comfortably. At 3-2 the game is in the balance then Jesse Lingard had the initiative to kill the game.
“Both him and Ashley Young scored great goals. We missed 4-0 with some actions and Romelu Lukaku had an open goal, Paul Pogba had a free header too.
Manchester United had scored 19 goals and collected 21 points after 14 games of last season....— Kevin Palmer (@RealKevinPalmer) November 28, 2017
They now have 32 points on the board and have scored 32 times after the same number of games #MUFC #progress pic.twitter.com/beSONLIx7k
“They were full of confidence after, they had nothing to lose could play the way they do and got back into the game.
“You have to respect the teams in the middle of the table because they have quality and I prefer to forget about the bad things as we did so many good things. This is a good lesson. To win the game and not lose any points is a good sign.”
Mourinho believes an injury to Nemanja Matic disrupted his side’s performance, as he suggested his departure with a muscle injury upset the balance of his team.
“We lost stability when Nemanja Matic had to come out but the important thing is the three points. I saw happiness from the team and played with a free mind,” he added.
“Last season I learned what Ashley Young can be, he gives stability in his performances and this season he is playing more regularly. He has the spirit and experience we need, today he also had the talent to score two beautiful goals.
“For Matic to tell me he wants to be replaced, he does not do that if it is nothing important. It is muscular.”