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Jose Mourinho.

Jose Mourinho hails two Man Utd players following 1-0 City win

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Juan Mata was the hero for Manchester United on Wednesday night, his goal securing Jose Mourinho's men a place in the EFL Cup quarter-finals.

From Zlatan Ibrahimovic's ball into the 18-yard box, the Spaniard curled his strike past the reach of Willy Caballero and into the bottom-left corner.

The victory will have undoubtedly come as a relief to Mourinho following Sunday's 4-0 demolition at the hands of former employers Chelsea.

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It's onwards and upwards now for the Red Devils, who will now be focused on getting back to winning ways in the Premier League when they face newly-promoted side Burnley on Saturday.

United still weren't quite themselves against Pep Guardiola's second-string Manchester City side, of course, but there was reason to be positive.

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Speaking to MUTV, Mourinho spoke highly of his team's performance and singled out two players for praise: Marcos Rojo and Ander Herrera.

"Step by step we were feeling more confident," he said. "We are used to playing with [Eric] Bailly and [Chris] Smalling, but we have lost both.

"We had to play with two left-footed central defenders and Marcos [Rojo] had not played for a while but he played phenomenal today.

"We were getting confident step by step, we were starting to trust our defensive organisation and then in the second half, especially Herrera, [Michael] Carrick and [Paul] Pogba, they increased the tempo. They started pressing higher.

FBL-ENG-LCUP-MAN UTD-MAN CITY

"I thought Ander brought the team to different levels of intensity and pressing."

For Rojo in particular, receiving such kind words from Mourinho will do the world of good to his confidence following a difficult few months for the Argentine.

Rumours have persistently suggested a move away from Old Trafford is on the cards, but he's stuck to his guns and recently insisted he'll stay and fight for his place.

"There are many reports circulating earlier, about how he did not want me," Rojo told ESPN Radio.

Manchester United FC v FC Zorya Luhansk - UEFA Europa League

"But from the first day he arrived, he already told me what he thought and I also say what I think. He is a coach who is very nice and has high demands.

"I love the way he thinks and handles players. I was surprised. Now I will work hard to get more minutes of play on the pitch, that's what I want."

Rojo will find game time much easier to come by in the coming months following Eric Bailly's knee injury against Chelsea.

The 22-year-old centre-back, who has been outstanding for United this season, is expected to be out for two months, after which he could still travel with Ivory Coast to the African Cup of Nations.

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris Saint-Germain
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
Ander Herrera
Jose Mourinho

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