Manchester United manager, José Mourinho has commended the club’s supporters after his side put their disappointing run of form behind them to defeat neighbours, Manchester City in England’s Football League Cup on Wednesday.
Juan Mata’s 54th-minute goal was the difference as United progressed to the last eight of the EFL.
The victory eased the pressure on the Mourinho after Sunday’s 4-0 defeat at former club Chelsea.
The Portuguese needed the victory at all cost as a defeat for a second time to Manchester City at Old Trafford would make life far more uncomfortable for the man charged with reviving Old Trafford’s fortunes.
Mourinho made a gesture of apology to United’s fans at the end — making a ‘4-0’ symbol with his fingers and lowering his head — and said he had been moved by their backing.
City were the cup holders but there was a feeling victory might matter more to United following their indifferent start to the campaign. That appeared to be reflected in the teamsheets with Mourinho making just four changes compared to Pep Guardiola’s nine.
Guardiola is now in unfamiliar territory, enduring his longest managerial run without a win, having gone six games without a victory for the first time in his career.
“I couldn’t be prouder than I am to be Man Utd manager. The only way I know is to fight – to work and fight,” said Mourinho.
“I’m happy the players did everything and they deserved to win. In the last week everything went against us but we are professionals.
“This is not the Champions League final, it is just the League Cup last 16, but it is against City and it is after a big defeat, so it was very important for us.
“We were on a good run of results, but it was a big defeat.
“(They are) numbers that the history of this club doesn’t deserve and when I’m in a club my heart belongs to the fans and I felt deeply for them. The reality is that I never had people like these ones.
“We lost 4-0 and they were supportive. Today the stadium was full of real support and it looks like the love people have for the club is bigger than bad results, bigger than three bad seasons.
“We must give something back. The players gave everything, but even if we’d lost the feeling was fantastic because the players showed they really care and they fought for the fans.”
United will now go on to play West Ham next month for a place in the last four.