Wednesday 23 January 2019

Jose hails Reds' desire

Middlesbrough 1 Manchester United 3

Marouane Fellaini congratulates Antonio Valencia on scoring Manchester United’s third goal in the Premier League win at Middlesbrough
Marouane Fellaini congratulates Antonio Valencia on scoring Manchester United’s third goal in the Premier League win at Middlesbrough
Jesse Lingard fires home United’s second at Middlesbrough

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho hailed his side's attitude and determination as they kept their top-four ambitions on track with victory at Middlesbrough.

Marouane Fellaini headed the visitors in front on the half-hour mark after former United goalkeeper Victor Valdes had earlier brilliantly denied Marcus Rashford on two occasions.

Jesse Lingard fired in a second for the Red Devils with a powerful drive into the top corner after 62 minutes before Boro substitute Rudy Gestede snatched one back with the hosts' first goal in five Premier League matches.

Antonio Valencia capitalised on a mistake from Valdes to net United's third goal late on, sealing a victory which left Mourinho delighted.

The Portuguese, whose side were playing their third match in a week, said: "(I applaud) Our attitude and desire and our way of thinking. We don't have plan B, C, D, E, F and G - but we have M, N, O, P and S.

"It is fantastic because we manage in the same week, to go to the quarter-finals of the Europa League which is an important target for us.

"At the same time, we got these three points that keep us in the race for the fourth position so we still have two doors for Champions League football next season.

"These guys gave everything, we started the game really well, Valdes made three fantastic saves before our first goal. We controlled everything until our second goal."

Middlesbrough caretaker boss Steve Agnew admitted he would like the chance to be full-time boss at the Riverside and believes his side have the tools to avoid relegation.

Agnew, who took over the reins following Aitor Karanka's departure on Thursday, said: "It is a club I have a great affection for, I love the people in the area and the passionate crowd of north-east football. It is a pleasure to be in charge of a team and see a team respond like they did.

"I think the second goal is what set us back a little bit but in terms of the players, I couldn't be more proud of the players, the fighting spirit they showed, the crowd was top-class. If we show that commitment and that sort of intensity until the end of the season then we have a real chance of staying in this league.

"It is a relief to get a goal and I felt that when we got that goal, we had Manchester United defending in the box for their lives and again we didn't quite get the bounce of the ball to get the equaliser, which on the balance of play I thought we deserved.

"I know that in the coming games that we will take that fighting spirit for the rest of the season."

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