- United went down to an 89th minute strike by Basle’s Michael Lang
- Despite not being mathematically through, Jose Mourinho is calm
- Mourinho and his players arrived at Manchester airport at 2am
- Brighton travel to Old Trafford on Saturday as United look to keep up title chase
Manchester United arrived home at 2am on Thursday still reeling from an 89th-minute Champions League defeat in Basle.
Jose Mourinho and his troops ambled through Manchester airport after Michael Lang’s late strike saw them go down 1-0 to the Swiss outfit.
However, Paul Pogba still seemed in good spirits – United’s French star sharing a joke and a handshake with a fan as he walked through arrivals.
Paul Pogba (right) shares a joke and a handshake with a fan at Manchester airport
Jose Mourinho led his side off the plane at 2am after the Champions League loss to Basle
Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his second subsitute appearance this season after his injury in April
Romelu Lukaku (left) and Ander Herrera walk through arrivals in their United tracksuits
Other tired-looking players included the recently-returned Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who made a second substitute appearance after his injury, Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera.
The defeat means United are not mathematically certain of qualification for the Champions League knockout stages. The result means United, Basle and CSKA Moscow can all finish on 12 points in Group A if the Russian side win at Old Trafford next month.
But Mourinho was understandably relaxed after the game – the competition’s ‘head-to-head’ rules means CSKA would have to beat United by a huge six-goal margin to go through. That would be a record European defeat for the Premier League side.
‘Can you help me with the maths?’ said the United boss asked reporters afterwards.
‘What do we need against CSKA? I don’t even think we need to draw. We can lose by some numbers and still go through.’
Marcos Rojo (left) was another player making a return, while Victor Lindelof was an unused sub
Daley Blind (left) and Anthony Martial (centre) return home after starting the game
The Portuguese boss refrained from criticising his team after a dominant performance despite the poor result.
‘We played against a team that played with five defenders,’ Mourinho said. ‘We knew that.
‘We tried to play with three attacking players and that worked in the first half because they couldn’t handle us.
‘We didn’t score in the second half probably (because of) the fact that we know one point is enough.
Keeper Sergio Romero (left) continued his run of European starts, with Nemanja Matic
‘So it’s hard for me to be upset with the players. The first half the attitude was good, the football was good.
‘It is really difficult to blame. It’s just football.’
Attentions at Old Trafford now turn to the visit of Brighton on Saturday as United look to chase down the eight-point lead held by local rivals Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.