Jose Mourinho was thoroughly impressed by the manner in which his lads fared against Juventus in Turin, the 2-1 victory adding to the long list of heroics that the Mancunian giants have enjoyed at the Old Lady.
The game looked to be ending in a goalless draw for much of the fixture, with Juventus hitting the woodwork on two separate occasions, while United being unable to translate their runs into anything worth worrying Szczęsny.
All of that changed when Cristiano Ronaldo’s volley won him the side’s first goal of the match and opened up his account in the Champions League this season.
However, that wasn’t the end of the night’s talking points, as Jose Mourinho’s late substitutes Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini made all the difference to the final scoreline.
Two set pieces penned down United’s victory, with Mata’s free-kick ending easily in the back of the net, while Ashley Young’s set-piece was thrown about by the Old Lady’s defense till Sandro netted an unfortunate own-goal.
That Mata goal really set things rolling, and now, we know what the Spaniard said to Young before netting the eventual equalizer.
Speaking to MUTV, Mata revealed: “As soon as there was the free-kick in there, I had the confidence that I had to take it. I told Ash: ‘Please let me take it because I can go over the wall.’”
Young was the side’s designated free-kick taker, but Mata changed his mind, as he adds: “It’s very difficult for the goalkeeper because they don’t see a lot [with the wall so close]. So I tried to do what I do in training a lot of times, practicing, practicing.
“It was important to score to make it 1-1 and, after, it led us to the 1-2. I think because of the venue and the importance of the game, it’s one of the best [that I’ve scored].”
The importance of the victory is tremendous, and it offers some much-needed momentum for the side ahead of the Manchester derby this weekend.