Jose Mourinho shifted praise to his substitutes after they were key in maintaining Manchester United’s 100 per cent start in the 2-0 win over Leicester.
Having drawn 10 times at home in the Premier League last season, a United crowd Mourinho thought was “quiet” must have felt a sense of deja vu as their latest stubborn visitors refused to be breached for more than a hour, with Kasper Schmeichel even saving a Romelu Lukaku penalty.
However, the cavalry arrived to save the day as replacements Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini scored shortly after coming on, the latter having been set up by another substitute Jesse Lingard, to seal United’s third victory in as many fixtures.
Mourinho’s programme notes were reserved for those who had played little or no part in United’s good start and afterwards he once more lauded those on the fringes.
“This is about the quality of the players, the players are good, and not just good, they are motivated to help the players,” the Portuguese said.
“It doesn’t matter if they play from the beginning, if they come from the bench. The group is solid, very, very friendly in between games and (there’s) great empathy.
“I’m really happy, not for me. When (managers) make changes, we always make the right changes, sometimes it works against us. I’m happy for them, for Marouane, for Jesse, for Marcus.”
United’s issue last term was a failure to beat teams on home soil, with 10 draws outweighing their eight victories, and it looked early on as if another of those nights was in store at Old Trafford.
Juan Mata’s disallowed goal in the first half was followed by Schmeichel guessing correctly when Lukaku stepped up from 12 yards, but Mourinho was pleased his team kept probing and were eventually rewarded.
“We haven’t had many matches last season where we played 90 minutes with the control we had today,” he said.
“We had a very good and solid performance. After we missed a penalty with half an hour to go, normally there is always a little collapse and that didn’t happen.
“We kept creating, playing, creating chances and getting corners, and in the end it was from a corner that we scored the first goal.”