Manchester United 1-0 Young Boys
JOSE MOURINHO threw water bottles to the Old Trafford ground in relief last night after Marouane Fellaini’s dramatic winner for Manchester United.
It looked as though the freshly shorn Belgium midfielder may have handled in the build-up to his 90th-minute strike which booked United’s place in the Champions League knockout stages after Juventus beat Valencia 1-0.
But it could have been a different story had David de Gea not made an outstanding diving save to keep out a deflected shot from Michel Aebischer.
United’s, whose Premier League ambitions were dented by a 0-0 draw at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday, again lacked a cutting edge.
Mourinho started Paul Pogba on the bench alongside Romelu Lukaku while Alexis Sanchez was left out of the squad altogether as the United boss had called for a fast, aggressive start.
But despite a few fleeting moments his side failed to break down the disciplined Young Boys.
It might have been a far easier night had Marcus Rashford converted a fantastic chance in the fifth minute.
Luke Shaw released the England striker but with just advancing goalkeeper David van Ballsmoos to beat, he lifted his shot over the crossbar.
Rashford then fired tamely before drilling an effort narrowly wide, setting the tone for another night of toil.
Young Boys had their moments and Djibril Sow flicked wide with the busy Jean-Pierre Nsame free behind him.
It was a big win for United but in truth they were again below par and the result papers over some big cracks.
■ DAVID DE GEA was dubbed ‘the best in the world’ after his stunning save paved the way for Manchester United’s the last-gasp victory against Young Boys.
After another below-par United display, relieved Jose Mourinho said: ‘It is a very difficult group and to qualify with a game to spare is good. The performance had a lot of good things and a lot of disappointing things too.’
But the coach reserved special praise for his keeper, who pulled off an incredible stop with the game goalless, before Marouane Fellaini’s late winner, saying: ‘David de Gea only had one save but it looks a phenomenal save, a save that best goalkeeper in the world does and gives his team the possibility to win the match.’
He also backed Marcus Rashford, saying, ‘it is not about blaming one player who missed a chance’ and insisted he was happy with the striker’s ‘intensity’.