Mourinho says credit due to Man Utd successor Solskjaer after PSG win (VIDEO)
On his new RT show ‘On the Touchline with Jose Mourinho’, the Portuguese picked United boss Solskjaer and Ajax manager Erik ten Hag as the standout personalities from this week’s Champions League after their teams pulled off major shocks.
United beat PSG 3-1 in Paris to progress to the quarterfinals on away goals, while Ajax hammered holders Real Madrid 4-1 to win their tie 5-3 on aggregate.
When asked to select his 'Special One' of the week, Mourinho said: “In terms of players, I was immediately thinking about [Dusan] Tadic [of Ajax], because he was a key player in that amazing match.
"...But I think independent of the performances, Ajax and Manchester United results are phenomenal results, and if the responsibility in the bad days is for the managers, the responsibility of the good days is then also for the managers.
"So for me, Ten Hag from Ajax and Solskjaer from Manchester United.
“Incredible results, so credit to them,” Mourinho said.
Mourinho praised the mental fortitude and tactical nous of Ajax, while he said United had shown self-belief and bravery in believing they were not chasing a lost cause in Paris.
Mourinho left United in December after two and a half seasons at the club, amid a sluggish start to the campaign and talk of discontent with players.
Since replacing him on a temporary basis, United playing legend Solskjaer has lost just a single game as he has set about reviving the team's fortunes - and is now widely tipped to be given the role beyond the end of the season.
When asked whether United had deserved their win on Wednesday, despite PSG having the vast share of possession and more chances, Mourinho said: “When you go to this match in Paris Saint-Germain, you can go in the pragmatic way, and say football is not about ‘ifs’, it’s about results.
“Manchester United had four shots during 95 minutes, and in four shots scored three goals, and PSG had almost 70 percent of ball possession, had more than 10 shots, and they scored only one.
“That’s the pragmatic way of looking at football, Manchester United scores three, and they deserve to go through," he said.
“If you want to go in more analytic side, then yes, you can go to all these numbers… but I prefer to go in the direction that PSG had a phenomenal result at Old Trafford, and the team that wins away 2-0, they have to close the result at home.
"And probably in the same way, Paris Saint-Germain was tactically very good in Manchester and create lots of problems to United, this time maybe thought they are going to do the same… and they didn’t,” he added.
The man whose penalty sent United into the last eight was 21-year-old England striker Marcus Rashford, who was in Russia with his country for the World Cup last summer.
Mourinho said that experience, in particular the penalty shootout win against Colombia in the last 16, where Rashford scored, had been a factor for the youngster in handling the pressure on Wednesday.
“He’s a young guy, but he’s a young guy already with huge experience, it's a crucial moment, a crucial penalty, but he had that already with England at the World Cup a few months ago… to take a penalty for a country who traditionally used to lose on penalties is huge pressure,” Mourinho said.
“He’s playing in the Manchester United first team for more than two years, there’s not a young player in Europe, I think, apart from maybe Mbappe, who has so many minutes playing in top league and in top competitions.
“He’s a good penalty taker, normally he’s quite cold.”
Heading into next week’s remaining last 16 games, Mourinho said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus could overturn the 2-0 deficit against Atletico Madrid, but that he still fancied the Spanish side to progress.
In the heavyweight showdown between Bayern Munich and Liverpool, he said the 0-0 at Anfield was not a “bad result” for the English club, but saw Bayern as a team “on the up” after an indifferent start to the season, and backed the Germans to progress.
Elsewhere, he said it “would be like a thunder in European football” if Lyon beat Barcelona despite holding them to a 0-0 draw in the first leg, but that “I don’t believe Messi and these fellows will lose this opportunity, they will win.”
He also tipped Manchester City to ease past Schalke in their tie, which stands at 3-2 to City as they return to the Etihad Stadium.