Jose Mourinho labelled Manchester United’s historic comeback victory against Paris Saint-Germain a “special day” for successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, while highlighting his former side’s impressive “self belief.”
United, who sacked Mourinho in December before installing Solskjaer as caretaker manager, became the first side to triumph in a Champions League knockout tie after losing the first leg at home by more than one goal following their 3-1 victory over PSG.
Meanwhile, just 24 hours earlier, Ajax also made it to the quarterfinals after an incredible 4-1 win over holders Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, having lost the first leg 2-1 in Amsterdam.
“I think, independent of the performances, [the] Ajax and Manchester United results are phenomenal results — and if the responsibility of the bad days is for the managers, the responsibility for the good days is also for the managers,” Mourinho said on Russia Today.
“So, for me, [Eric] Ten Hag from Ajax and [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer from Manchester United — incredible results, so credit to them.
“I would say, in relation to Ajax, by the tactical perspective and also by the mental aspect of their game. Manchester United, I would say the mental side of it — the self-belief. So for me, very special days for these two men.”
However, Mourinho hinted PSG were the superior side at the Parc des Princes.
“When you go to this match in Paris Saint-Germain, you can go in the pragmatic way, and say football is not about ‘ifs,’ it’s about results,” Mourinho said. “Manchester United had four shots during 95 minutes, and in four shots scored three goals, and PSG had almost 70 percent of ball possession, had more than 10 shots, and they scored only one.
“That’s the pragmatic way of looking at football. Manchester United scores three, and they deserve to go through. If you want to go in more analytic side, then yes, you can go to all these numbers — but I prefer to go in the direction that PSG had a phenomenal result at Old Trafford, and the team that wins away 2-0, they have to close the result at home.
“And probably in the same way, Paris Saint-Germain was tactically very good in Manchester and create lots of problems to United. This time maybe though they are going to do the same — and they didn’t.”
Mourinho also singled out “cold” Marcus Rashford, whose stoppage time spot-kick saw United into the last eight of the Champions League for the first time since 2014.
“He’s a young guy, but he’s a young guy already with huge experience,” Mourinho said. “It’s a crucial moment, a crucial penalty, but he had that already with England at the World Cup a few months ago.
“To take a penalty for a country who traditionally used to lose on penalties is huge pressure. He’s playing in the Manchester United first team for more than two years, there’s not a young player in Europe, I think, apart from maybe Mbappe, who has so many minutes playing in top league and in top competitions.
“He’s a good penalty taker, normally he’s quite cold.”