Jose Mourinho tried to sign current Man Utd player at Real Madrid

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Jose Mourinho has been full of praise for some of his Manchester United players this season.

The Portuguese recently hailed Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the difference he's made, called Paul Pogba "fantastic" after his debut and lauded Chris Smalling for playing against Chelsea with an injury.

But, in typical Mourinho style, he slammed Smalling the following week for pulling out of United's game against Swansea, which they won 3-1.

Even Juan Mata, who he sold at Chelsea in 2014, has been on the receiving end of some kind comments after becoming one of his most important players.

In his most recent interview with MUTV, Mourinho singled out another one of his players for praise and even revealed how he tried to sign him at Real Madrid.

That man is Antonio Valencia.

Mourinho explained how he once inquired into the Ecuadorian's availability but was told "no chance" by then manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

He said: "I tried to sign Antonio a number of years ago, when I was at Madrid.

"Even though he was not playing right-back at the time, I thought he could be phenomenal in that position. As it was, United told me 'no chance!'"

Valencia has become a solid right-back at the Theatre of Dreams and he continued his fine form against Arsenal on Saturday afternoon.

Solid defensively and dangerous going forward, the 31-year-old caused Nacho Monreal problems all afternoon and should have won a penalty in the first half.

Using his pace and strength, Valencia knocked the ball past Monreal and fell under the Spaniard's challenge. Referee Andre Marriner, however, waved away the protests.

Valencia's performances this season have impressed Mourinho, who pointed towards his attacking threat as his strongest trait.

"I am not surprised by his form this season," he added. "He has been clean of injuries, [apart from] an operation on his arm which did not keep him out for long, and I have also been able to keep him fresh by resting him in certain Europa League games.

"I think he is the right-back to give us the maximum we can in terms of our attacking football."

Michael Carrick similarly hailed Valencia after the Arsenal draw: "Antonio has been incredible at right-back since he has moved to that position.

"He just looks so dangerous going forward but, at the same time, he is so solid defensively. His positional play has improved a lot and I think that's told.

"He has been our best player in a lot of our games this season. To come back so quick from a broken bone speaks volumes for him and his attitude to get back and play."

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Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
Manchester United
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris Saint-Germain
UEFA Champions League
Antonio Valencia
Premier League
Jose Mourinho

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