Manchester United fans were surprised to see Scott McTominay in the starting line-up for the game against Huddersfield on Saturday, particularly given that Paul Pogba was on the bench.

The Frenchman had a poor game for United in the 2-0 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the week and there was the worry that Jose Mourinho was punishing the player. The manager has insisted that wasn’t the case though, with Pogba coming on in the second half, and instead insisting that McTominay had the right qualities for the game.

Scott started a little bit nervously but he grew up with the game; I think he was fundamental for us in the way he gave us that desire to recover the ball.

I changed a few players, thinking about the characteristic of this game. The intention was not to punish anyone; to punish someone, I also need someone to punish me because we are a team. When we win, we win together and when we lose, we lose together. I always try to do the best for the team in any moment.

Scott was a little kid who arrived here at nine years old with his mum for his first training session; 10 or 11 years after, the kid is playing in a Manchester United shirt in an important match in the Premier League at Old Trafford.

He has a great desire to recover the ball. When the team was not in possession, he was key to chasing the ball higher up the pitch and when the team had the ball, he played always simple. And, against opponents like Huddersfield, who are so close with so many men behind the ball, simplicity sometimes is genius. If you don’t have space, you have to open spaces by playing simple.

Paul had a great attitude when he came on, with the spaces we had at that time, because we were winning 1-0 and he could show his talent and qualities. He is one of the most talented midfield players in the world and to sit on the bench for one day is not the end of the world.