José Mourinho says he never doubted that Manchester United were going to beat Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford on Saturday because of how controlled his remained throughout the match.
The visitors frustrated United and managed to keep proceedings goal-less at the break, but Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sánchez' - his first for the club - second half goals secured a deserved, routine 2-0 win.
Control meant result was never in doubt
Mourinho hinted Huddersfield's defensive efforts in the first half left the Red Devils frustrated before the restart, stating: "I think we had around 80 per cent of ball possession in the first half but no goal, and then go to half-time 0-0 and you feel a little under pressure."
Despite it taking 55 minutes for Lukaku to break the deadlock, Mourinho insisted he was never tempted to revert to a more direct mind-set because of the array of technically-gifted attackers at his disposal.
"In the second half it was important to be calm, to play and not lose our identity and go direct when we have these kind of attacking players who are better with passing and attacking movement.
"In the second half we had a little bit more intensity, we recovered the ball higher and faster, and then first goal came.
"Even at 1-0, I felt the game was over because we were so much in control. So I think it was a solid performance; even defensively, we recovered the ball high up the pitch."
The fight for second place is on
Referee Stuart Attwell made a big call in the first half to deny young United midfielder Scott McTominay a penalty after Huddersfield defender Terrence Kongolo bodychecked him inside the penalty box.
The Red Devils' manager wasn't ready to point the finger though, and instead turned the focus of his criticism towards Town winger Rajiv van La Parra, who seemingly pretended he was on the floor injured before springing up once the visitors were on the counter-attack.
"I don’t know – I didn’t watch [the penalty incident] on the TV. Maybe yes, maybe no. I didn’t like the fellow [van La Parra] pretending he was injured and then getting the ball – that’s a yellow card, minimum.
"But they fought hard; they have 24 points and every point for them is gold, so they were fighting for points."
The fixture was the closest at home to the 60th anniversary of the 1958 Munich Air Disaster and a minute's silence was impeccably executed from the 75,000 spectators present - José Mourinho thinks the result was fitting.
"The result has no relation with the commemoration and the respect that everyone showed to the people directly and indirectly involved in the event.
I think it’s nice to play at home, to win and to stay in the position that’s not our ambition, but it’s the position we’re in at this moment and we have to fight to keep it."