TURIN. — Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says his gesture towards Juventus fans after Wednesday night’s 2-1 UEFA Champions League soccer Group H victory was justified.
It appeared the Italian Serie A outfit were on course for victory after Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning volley in the 65th minute at the Allianz Stadium in Torino.
However, United showed great resolve as they won the encounter following a superb Juan Mata free-kick as well as a last-minute own goal by Alex Sandro.
The result sees the Red Devils move to seven points in the standings, just two behind the Italians in Group H. Valencia are in third on five points while Young Boys are in last position with just a single point to their name.
Nonetheless, after the final whistle again I Bianconeri, Mourinho walked out on to the pitch while cupping his ear in a provocative manner towards the home fans.
However, the Portuguese explained he was justified to do so after they verbally abused him throughout the game.
Speaking to BT Sports, he said: “In a beautiful Italian city, they insulted me for 90 minutes. I didn’t insult them. I just made a little thing.
“I know the millions of Inter fans are happy with that. But I respect Juventus, their players, the manager, the quality they have.”
The 55-year-old added of the picking up a vital three points against the Serie A champions, “We performed at a high level. After the goal we had five minutes to wake up again.
“We were there from the first minute until the last. It is a big victory for us, not just because we needed the points but because it was away from home against an amazing team.
“They are a fantastic team with an amazing record at home. We had to come and not feel inferior. They have more potential than us. Everybody knows their ambitions.”
Meanwhile, Ronaldo could not hide his frustration that despite scoring his first Champions League goal for Juventus the Italian side “gifted” a dramatic late 2-1 victory to Manchester United.
Ronaldo struck with a magnificent first-time volley on 65 minutes to leave Juve on course for the knock-out phase, but Mata equalised with an 86th-minute free-kick before Leonardo Bonucci turned into his own net.
It was the 121st goal in the competition for five-time Champions League winner Ronaldo who Juventus are counting on to help them lift their first European title since 1996.
Instead they must now wait for the remaining games against Valencia and Young Boys to seal their passage to the next round.
“United did nothing to win the game,” Ronaldo told Sky Sports Italia.
“We dominated for 90 minutes, had so many chances, could have killed it off three or four times, but we relaxed and were punished.
“You can’t even talk about luck, because you have to find your own luck and in this case we just gifted it to them.
“Now we’ve got to lift our heads, as we played really well and are still top of the group.”
Juventus are top of Group H on nine points – two points ahead of United – with Valencia now on five and Swiss club Young Boys eliminated after losing 3-1 to the Spaniards.
Sami Khedira and Paulo Dybala both hit the woodwork before five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo brought the capacity 41 470 crowd to their feet when he hammered home Bonucci’s long pass from just inside United’s half.
United though had the final word as Mourinho brought on Mata and Marouane Fellaini, who helped turn the game round in just four minutes, the Spaniard bending in a free-kick from the edge of the box to give the visitors a scarcely-deserved equaliser.
Juve were then left in shock as Ashley Young’s free-kick from the left bounced in off a combination of Bonucci and Alex Sandro after a frantic scramble in front of goal.
For Massimilano Allegri’s seven-time reigning Serie A champions it was a first defeat this season.
“The Champions League is a special competition, where you could be winning, but you can’t relax, as anything can happen,” continued Ronaldo, who has won the competition four times Real Madrid and once with United.
It was the eighth goal this season for the 33-year-old who arrived from Real Madrid in July in a deal estimated to cost 340 million euros in total over four years, on top of the 110 million-euro transfer fee.
“I was happy with the goal, but I’m a little bit disappointed because we should win the game with three or four goals.”