‘Phenomenal’ Zlatan, Pogba impress Man United manager Mourinho

London, Dec 15 (IANS) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho lauded stars Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba for their “phenomenal” performances in the team’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in the English Premier League football.

“I think they both were phenomenal during the game. The pass obviously is fantastic, the movement is great, the shot is good, but for me I probably prefer what Zlatan did after the goal because that was phenomenal,” Mourinho told the club’s official website after the match on Wednesday.

“He played in front of the back four, winning every ball in the air, controlling on the chest, cooling down the play, he is phenomenal. It is not just the goals that he scores, it is not just the goal that gives us three points, it is the leadership, the desire, the passion. Fantastic!” the Portuguese waxed eloquent about his two pre-season signings.

Defender Eric Bailly picked up a knock within the first seven minutes but continued to play for the first half. The second half was hard for the Ivorian as he had to be taken off soon after the restart with Matteo Darmian replacing him.

“We don’t know (how serious it is). It is the left knee. Of course he has a problem with another dimension but showed amazing character to try and try, and try until his limit,” Mourinho said.

United are sixth in the points table with 27 points after 16 matches, in a list headed by Chelsea (40).

On the title race and whether United were catching up, Mourinho said, “We are doing enough for that. If we had the points we lost at home in the draws in matches that we did more than enough to win then we would be close to the top of the league, but we lost these points and at this moment we are just closing the gap to the top four positions.

“There are three more matches before the end of the year and let’s see how it looks on 31 December,” Mourinho added.