Jose Mourinho was delighted with Luke Shaw’s performance in Manchester United’s 3-0 Premier League victory at Sunderland on Sunday.
The full-back was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up and set up Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s goal in what proved to be a routine win over the league’s bottom club, who had Sebastian Larsson sent off in the first half.
Shaw has been criticised on more than one occasion by Mourinho this season and the United boss claimed after the 1-1 draw with Everton that the 21-year-old had been playing with “his body and my brain”.
Mourinho embraced Shaw and appeared to give him words of encouragement after replacing him with Daley Blind just past the hour mark, and the Portuguese said afterwards that the ex-Southampton man played well.
“I took Shaw off because of the yellow card and the pressure from the crowd,” he told BBC Sport. “It was good to protect him but was also good for him to play one hour with a good solid performance and no mistakes, so I’m really pleased for him.”
United were without goalkeeper David de Gea, who has a minor hip problem, but Mourinho felt it was a good opportunity for Sergio Romero to play before he lines up against Anderlecht in the Europa League on Thursday.
The former Chelsea boss hopes to have as many players as fresh as possible ahead of that trip to Belgium as United look to secure a commanding first-leg advantage.
“[De Gea] has a problem with his hip. When he dives he feels it a little bit. It’s good for him to have a rest,” Mourinho explained.
“It’s good for Sergio Romero to play before Brussels. De Gea will probably be fit for Chelsea [next Sunday] – yes, if he’s in good condition.
“Before the match against Rostov we played with 10 men for about an hour. Today was the opposite thing. We played with one more for a long time. Hopefully the plane is at the airport and we can go back to Manchester and rest.
“We want to fight in the Premier League until it is mathematically impossible. The Premier League we cannot win, but Europa League we can.
“We had lots of players that were not here and the most important thing after the three points was to have no more injuries. Only [Antonio] Valencia is the one I really expect to recover and play the next match.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 9, 2017
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