Jose Mourinho was delighted with the finish to the year that Manchester United gave the Old Trafford faithful and left them in an expectant mood going in to 2017.
United saw off the challenge of a resolute Middlesbrough and managed to claw their way back into the game from a goal behind to snatch a late 2-1 win.
Grant Leadbitter gave the visitors a shock second-half lead but two late strikes from Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba handed Mourinho’s jubilant men their fifth successive Premier League victory.
United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a perfectly good goal disallowed during the encounter with Boro and Mourinho said the decision is a difficult one to take.
“It’s hard because we respect the referees and they want to do well, but for us it is very disappointing. We scored a beautiful goal, a goal that would mean Zlatan and Messi would be the two top scorers in 2016 in European football.”
“It is a goal that stopped such an amazing player being level with Messi as top scorer in 2016. So it’s quite frustrating, but it was another big test for us and the players. The reality is that my players deserve that amazing comeback.”
The win was the perfect present for former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s 75th birthday and Mourinho paid tribute to the legendary manager.
“He deserves to come here and for people to remember the game not just for his 75th birthday but also for the kind of football we played and the fact that we managed to bring the fans to the pitch.”
“In the last 20 minutes, the fans were on the pitch – they were not in the stands. And this is a credit to the players, who showed amazing character to go and go and go and go. This time we were successful and it’s three more points.”
Now United must prepare for a quick turnaround as they face a trip to play West Ham in the top flight at the London Stadium on January 2.