Jose Mourinho has heaped praise on Manchester United's midfielders following their 0-0 draw against Sevilla in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 match on Wednesday, 21 February.
Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay started in midfield for the Red Devils while Paul Pogba was surprisingly left on the bench. However, it was not long before the Frenchman arrived on the pitch as Herrera suffered a hamstring injury just 17 minutes into the game while attempting a back-heel pass in the opposition box.
As for the match, United were lucky to come away with a 0-0 draw and have David de Gea to thank for it after the Spaniard pulled off a few blinders at point-blank range to keep a clean sheet. Even though United did not carve out too many chances during the game, they looked quite assured almost through the entirety of the tie.
After the match, the Portuguese coach reserved special praise for McTominay, who was playing just his fourth Champions League game. The 21-year-old came up against Ever Banega, one of Sevilla's key players, but the youngster held his own throughout the tie. The Scottish midfielder was aided well by Pogba, who has come under severe criticism in recent weeks for his poor form.
Mourinho praised the Frenchman as well and credited him for his mature performance, especially since he was playing alongside a player just cutting his teeth in European football. Pogba missed United's last game due to illness and his lack of form has seen both the player and the manager face criticism. However, he is likely to return to the starting line-up when Chelsea visit Old Trafford on Sunday, 25 February.
"In the press conference, the questions were about Paul [Pogba] but the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic. He did everything well. He put pressure on Ever Banega and stopped him playing, he's their playmaker. I think Scott was brilliant," Mourinho said after the game at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, as quoted by United's official website.
"The midfield started really well and Paul made a big effort to go into the dynamic when he came on, and he had a positive performance.
"He looked a senior player, he looked a player with great maturity, with tactical sense, with a sense of responsibility, good in possession, good in the pressing. I think Scott McTominay looked a man with dozens and dozens of matches in the Champions League, when this is only the second one [in which he has started]," Mourinho added.