Jose Mourinho was pleased despite watching Manchester United suffer a 1-0 defeat to Barcelona, describing the International Champions Cup loss as “very important”.
United’s flawless pre-season came to an end on Wednesday, beaten by a first-half strike from Neymar in Landover, Maryland.
Mourinho’s men were outclassed for large periods of the match as they were condemned to their first loss in the United States but the Portuguese boss was happy post-match at FedEx Field.
“It’s very important to lose a match in pre-season. You don’t like to lose but I think it’s very important,” Mourinho told MUTV.
“I think it would be very bad for us to leave the US without a defeat, playing against teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, it would be very bad to go home with just victories. So the defeat is good.
“But I think in the game we did some very good things and we did bad things. The very good things are to keep and the bad things are to improve.
“I am very happy. No injuries because [Juan] Mata and [Ander] Herrera in this moment, I don’t think we are talking about injuries. They will be back to training I think next Saturday, no problem to be back to training, so no injuries, a fantastic atmosphere, a fantastic work ethic, great organisation. So now we just need to land safely in Manchester and this part of the pre-season was perfect.”
United made eight changes to the team that beat Real Madrid on penalties last time out, though they were virtually at full strength with David de Gea, Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Victor Lindelof in the line-up.
However, the Premier League giants struggled after a promising start, with De Gea’s exploits ensuring United only trailed 1-0 at half-time.
“The first half was 1-0 but it could have been 2-2, 3-3 or 4-0. In the second half there were lots of changes but both teams were playing for a result, despite it being a friendly when the result is not the most important thing. We tried to equalise, they kept the ball and possession, and defended well. Even in the second half the match was positive,” Mourinho continued.
Mourinho added: “The attitude was good and in the second half we defended much better. I know that one thing is to defend against [Lionel] Messi, [Luis] Suarez and Neymar, another thing is to defend against three good players but not three of the best players in the world. But we were much more confident, we pushed the line-up, [Phil] Jones and [Eric] Bailly they pressed really high, we brought the game to their side. We arrived into dangerous positions and we could have scored.”
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