Jose Mourinho hailed “tough guy” Alexis Sanchez for keeping his head amid Yeovil’s tactics to lay on two assists in his Manchester United debut.
United coasted to a 4-0 win to stroll into the FA Cup fifth round, with new boy Sanchez teeing up Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera, before Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku glossed the score late on.
Mourinho believes Yeovil defender Nathan Smith was lucky to avoid a red card for a tackle that momentarily upended Sanchez – but hailed his new striker for brushing off the incident without reacting.
“I was impressed with Alexis’ attitude, but I think I also did my job well in telling the players they should be ready for that, and never react,” said Mourinho.
“Sometimes the top players lose their head, and then they are the ones to be punished.
“I understand the decision not to show the red card because this is a special day, and 10 against 11; that would be game over.
“But the players do need a bit of protection.
“Alexis is a tough guy, he has a good mentality and I’m happy with everything he did.”
Sanchez jumped straight into the United line-up at the first opportunity after completing the deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move in the other direction to Arsenal.
And Mourinho hailed the 29-year-old for fitting straight into his side’s style of play.
“I’m very happy; I think it (Alexis’ performance) is no surprise for anyone,” said Mourinho.
“Three-and-a-half years in the Premier League playing every weekend, everyone knows what kind of player Alexis is.
“There’s no question mark about adaptation to English football. No surprise for us.
“He’s a fantastic player, he’s shown that for the past three days. An amazing addition for us.
“He needed to play, we spoke; he needed to play.
“It was a professional performance; the players knew it would be difficult until we scored the first goal.
“They were well organised they knew what to do on the pitch.
“I was listening to their manager in their technical area, and from what he was asking, he was well organised.”
Yeovil boss Darren Way paid tribute to United counterpart Mourinho for his humility and approachable style at Huish Park.
“It’s an absolute honour for me to speak to a manager of that class,” said Way.
“Even in the office he just oozes class. He was very humble with me. He knew everything about me. It wouldn’t surprise me if he knew my children’s names.
“And to share that moment with him was very special. I’d be interested to hear what he thought about my team, I haven’t had that chance. But by all accounts he was very impressed with what he’d seen.
“I’m so proud of my players. They gave it everything. Sanchez was absolutely world-class. As much as we tried to stop their best players, it’s very difficult.”