Mourinho told a news conference ahead of United's game versus Huddersfield Town that, with 13 games remaining, his team must now aim to be "the first of the last, we have to try to finish second".
What Mourinho could not dispute, though, was the fact eyebrows had been raised by his selection of a 21-year-old Academy graduate at the expense of one of the world's most expensive players, who had been dragged off for an erratic performance in the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham.
A minute's silence preceded kick-off at Old Trafford as United paid tribute to the victims of the Munich disaster 60 years on from the tragedy that killed eight of the great United Busby Babes.
United dominated possession throughout against the relegation-threatened visitors, but it took until the 55th minute for them to find the breakthrough courtesy of a Romelu Lukaku strike.
"We had to break down the Berlin wall organised so well by David Wagner".
The Chilean worldwide stepped up and saw the resulting spot kick saved but he poked home the rebound to make it 2-0 in the 68th minute and open his account for his new club.
That match also marked the first time that United manager Jose Mourinho had returned to Stamford Bridge since his controversial departure from Chelsea the previous December. It was not the goal of his dreams, but it is a goal.
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However, that resulted in him losing the ball more than any other United player has in a single match this term.
"But football is about goals".
"We are second in the table", he added.
Jamie Vardy smashed the hosts in front, but Swansea's rise under Carlos Carvalhal continued as they extended their unbeaten run to seven games thanks to Federico Fernandez's equaliser to edge out of the bottom three on goal difference.
Bottom club West Bromwich Albion lost 3-2 at home to Southampton on an emotional day at the Hawthorns, where there was a minute's applause for the home side's former striker Cyrille Regis, who died aged 59 last month.
"Even before I became Manchester United manager it was part of my life as a sportsman,"Mourinho said".