Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho singled out Marcos Rojo for praise following his return to the first-team, suggesting the Argentine will retain his place against Brighton and Saturday (25 November).

Rojo suffered a season-ending cruciate knee ligament injury last April but has return to action slightly earlier than expected after a successful rehabilitation. He was an unused sub as United cruised to victory over Newcastle United last Saturday but came straight into the starting XI for the Champions League group match against Basel.

While a late strike from Michael Lang condemned United to their first defeat in Europe this season, Rojo impressed in an otherwise shaky United backline, showing the aggression and composure that made him a first-team regular last season.

"[Marcos] Rojo played very well," Mourinho said in his post-match press conference. "I think he could be playing a couple of weeks ago. We didn't need to rush him, push him into that situation, but he was training with the team for quite a long time.

"He had 45 minutes with the Under-23s team [last week in the Premier League International Cup tie against Athletic Club]. We knew Marcos was ready, the doubt was 90 minutes and lasting 90 minutes. But [in the] first half [it was] very easy. He had a lot of the ball, he didn't have to be physically demanding."

Rojo's return comes with good timing with Phil Jones missing United's last two matches after returning from international duty with an injury – a situation which has enraged Mourinho. Eric Bailly also returned from the break with a knock which rule him out of the 4-1 win over Newcastle.

While Bailly has a chance of returning on Saturday [25 November] at home to Brighton, Jones is set to remain on the absentee list. And with Rojo slotting straight back into his side on Wednesday [22 November], Mourinho says his "stability" could come in useful in Jones' absence at the weekend.

"He [Rojo] controlled his game very well so I'm really happy. We need that with no Jones. We need Marcos back to give us the stability."

Marcos Rojo
Rojo played the full 90 minutes against Basel on Wednesday. Getty