Jose Mourinho has noted that the Old Trafford crowd was unusually quiet during Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Leicester City on Saturday.
Man United made an emphatic start against Craig Shakespeare’s men, with Paul Pogba having six shots of his own in the first half, but struggled to find an opener as Leicester held firm.
The tension ramped up a gear after Romelu Lukaku, following Danny Simpson’s handball, saw his effort from the spot saved by Kasper Schmeichel, but Marcus Rashford finally broke the deadlock with powerful finish from Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s corner.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, noted that, up until that point, Old Trafford was strangely quiet.
“I saw the ball in the net and all the guys jumping around. It was the first time I saw the crowd. They were very quiet. It was easy to know that was a goal because it was the first time I really understood the stadium was full.”
“Were Leicester very dangerous against Arsenal? Yes. I watched the match many times. Were they dangerous against us? No. Why? Because of us. So we had a very good and solid performance.”
“[Jamie] Vardy is a very dangerous player. I would say he is one of the most dangerous players in the Premier League. Was he dangerous today? No. Why? Because we played so well to control them.”
Mourinho’s men are showing genuine signs of shifting away from the inertia in front of goal at home to lesser sides that hallmarked their 2016/17 campaign, but those in the stands – perhaps understandably – are still unable to fully shift the demons of last year from their psyches.
Looking back at the game, there wasn’t actually any need to worry. United, in spite of Leicester’s resistance, looked confident throughout, moving the ball with purpose and waiting for their moment. But for some reason I couldn’t help but feel as if all the good work over the last few weeks would end up being punctuated by another gloomy 0-0 draw. I was a nervous, sullen wreck until that goal went in.
Deep set fear can often override a rational outlook, and perhaps this is still the case with some supporters (certainly me), but if United continue to produce confident, assured displays the entire mood will eventually shift.