José Mourinho defended his own reaction at the end of Manchester United’s late comeback against Juventus, a victory that saw the United manager ushered from the pitch at the final whistle after cupping his ear and leering provocatively towards the home crowd.
“I was insulted for 90 minutes,” Mourinho said. “I do my work and nothing more. At the end I didn’t insult anyone, I just did the gesture that I wanted to hear them more. I wouldn’t do it again. But I came here as a professional that does his work and people insulted my family, this is why I reacted this way. I don’t want to think about it.”
Mourinho did want to talk about United’s away victory, which leaves them in second place on seven points in Group H; and which Mourinho seemed to suggest was in some ways just as notable as the famous knockout stage victories in Turin of the Sir Alex Ferguson years.
“Probably when Manchester United had heroics here [when they last played Juve] Manchester United was the best team and they [Juventus] are a top team for many years now. They bought that player, they want to win everything, they can win everything and we are a team where many of the players didn’t play big matches like this in the Champions League.
“It is a fantastic victory for us, a victory that is not just about the points we lost at home [but] is about the feeling of how well we played. And I think even if this game doesn’t end with a victory I would have the same feeling that the team played really, really well from the first minute against – I repeat – a super team.”
United’s win here came against the head. They trailed 1-0 as late as the 86th minute before goals from Juan Mata and a late free-kick flicked on by Marouane Fellaini that went in off a combination of Leonardo Bonucci and Alex Sandro altered the trajectory of the night.
There was also cautious optimism about a weekend that takes United to the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League.
“We played this season against Chelsea and Juventus away, the two best teams that we face this season and we played very well in both,” said Mourinho. “In here, lucky to win in last minute, against Chelsea unlucky not to win in last minute but we played very, very well and this is what we want. We want to play well, we want to go to every stadium, and it doesn’t matter the team. I want the feeling, it doesn’t matter where we go, we go to compete and this is the feeling the Manchester United supporters around the world want.”