Jose Mourinho has described Wayne Rooney’s European goalscoring record for Manchester United as “amazing” as well as giving rare praise to Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
United thumped Feyenoord 4-0 in the Europa League at Old Trafford on Thursday, with captain Rooney shining by scoring one goal and setting up another for Juan Mata.
His strike in the first half saw him move past Ruud van Nistelrooy to become the club’s highest continental goalscorer on 39.
Mourinho was thrilled with Rooney’s showing and hailed his team for pushing on to score three times after the break, ensuring they now only need a draw in their last Group A match against Zorya Luhansk in order to reach the knockout stages.
“It’s an amazing achievement obviously,” Mourinho said of Rooney at his post-match media conference.
“His performance was like the team performance. We showed direction even at 1-0 up, we want to score more goals and get into a position where we are ahead of them in a situation where there are two or three teams on the same points.
“It will be even better if he can help the club to win the one trophy they don’t have in their history which is the Europa League.
“I know it’s not the biggest competition, but let’s push. Let’s qualify, I know there are a lot of knockout games, but let’s try.”
Mkhitaryan will also be boosted after receiving a positive review of his performance from Mourinho, who handed him only a second start since his July move from Borussia Dortmund and has previously criticised his displays.
Mourinho said: “I am very happy. We coped very well with the pressure on our shoulders – it was a good solid performance.
“Some players had chances, like Sergio Romero who made a double save at 0-0 and Mkhitaryan who put in a good individual performance.
“I think now Mkhitaryan just has to replicate this kind of performance in the Premier League.
“The Premier League is a level higher and he needs to replicate that in the Premier League with more physicality, with more pressure.
“But the quality we knew – that was why we brought him to the club. He has great quality.”
Mourinho feels Jesse Lingard’s impressive late goal would receive more recognition if there was another manager involved.
He added: “The goal was amazing. If it is another team scoring that goal with another manager on the touchline people would say that it’s magic. But not Man United and not a Mourinho team.”
Meanwhile, Feyenoord boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst was angry with the way his team finished the match, with the goal from Mata, Brad Jones’ own goal and Lingard’s strike all coming in the final 21 minutes.
“It’s a result we didn’t want and I think 4-0 is a big defeat,” he said.
“We coped with Manchester for 70 minutes but the second goal was a big punch for us. We had one or two chances to score the first goal and you have to take those against Manchester.
“The last 20 minutes for us was very disappointing. We have Fenerbahce at home to come and we have to win with a two-goal difference to go through.”
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