Jose Mourinho was pleased with all of his Manchester United players in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Chelsea, yet the boss highlighted centre-backs Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo for special praise.
The two defenders were genuinely excellent from start to finish as they registered an impressive clean sheet against the Premier League leaders, who have notably scored 65 goals in total this campaign. Diego Costa has netted 17 of those, yet the physical Spaniard was left visibly frustrated at Old Trafford.
Although Bailly and Rojo narrowly missed out on being nominated for the club’s official Man of the Match award by MUTV pundit Ron Atkinson – who opted for scorers Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera, plus Ashley Young – the pair were later singled out by an appreciative Mourinho in his post-match interviews.
“I think everyone did what they had to do,” the boss told Sky Sports at the final whistle on Sunday. “Everybody fought really hard. Bailly and Rojo, I think they deserve a special mention because they have played in absolutely every game, non-stop, since the injuries of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.
“But I am really happy with the team and the results, because the Manchester City and Liverpool results on Saturday left us in the position of needing to win.
“Not even a draw would be a good result for us, so I am really happy for the boys and for us because we keep two windows open to try to play Champions League football next season.”
The next challenge for Bailly and Rojo is to recover in time for Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final second leg against Anderlecht, which is the club’s sixth of nine matches scheduled across April.