LONDON • Luke Shaw's comeback is under way after coming through 45 minutes of Manchester United's 2-0 pre-season away victory over Championship side Wigan.
It marked Jose Mourinho's first game in charge at the English Premier League football club, with the new manager confessing he was surprised to see the England left-back at the training ground following his double-leg fracture at the start of last season.
"When I found him at the training ground, it was a surprise for me because I thought he couldn't be ready to start work without limitation," the Portuguese said.
"He did fantastic over the summer, he sacrificed his holiday to get into condition. He was mad to play the second half as well, he wanted to play more than 45 minutes, but I thought 45 minutes was safe enough for his first game back. Let's go step by step."
CHEER THEM, NOT ME
The players are the ones who need the support. If I could appeal to the fans, I would ask them to get behind Manchester United.
JOSE MOURINHO, urging United fans who had sought his attention to cheer the team instead.
This is where a whole new chapter started for United, too. A travelling contingent of 5,500 supporters, which would have been far greater but for police restrictions, took less than a minute to serenade Mourinho for the first time. The manager responded with a polite wave.
It was very much a friendly, with as little urgency on the pitch as you would expect in mid-July. Halfway into the first half, the United fans demanded another wave from their new manager so he did his best to ignore them.
"It's nice to feel welcome but I would prefer them to go with the team," he said afterwards.
"They are the ones on the pitch. The players are the ones who need the support. If I could appeal to the fans, I would ask them to get behind Manchester United."
This was the gentlest of introductions for Mourinho and some of his players. The real pre-season business starts on tour in China this week, when United will have some of their Euro 2016 performers back, including England trio Chris Smalling, Marcus Rashford and captain Wayne Rooney.
They will play against stronger opponents Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City.
The main point of this fixture was for Mourinho to have a good look at some of his new charges for the first time, including Shaw, who confessed he had been impatient to get the occasion over with.
"Every pre-season is important but this time, I can't wait to get going," he said. "I'm just looking forward to carrying on doing what I started to do last year."
United's starting line-up featured debutants in Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the former one of only four players who came out again for the second half.
Despite the lack of experience at the DW Stadium, Mourinho's shadow squad barely broke sweat, especially after veteran home 'keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen's mistake handed the ball to Juan Mata, who laid on the opener for Will Keane.
After 58 minutes, the work Mourinho has so far put in on the training ground was evident in a well-worked free kick which saw a blocked Ander Herrera shot swept in by Andreas Pereira, the perfect end to a game in which he was able to use his entire 22-man squad.
"Obviously the result is not the most important thing, but I was pleased after 10 days of work to see things starting to happen," Mourinho said.
"They were trying to play my football. I could see the players trying to go in the direction I want them to go, so I'm happy. Thank you very much to the Wigan manager and players for the unbelievable training session."
Low-key as it all may have been, however, there was nothing low-key about Mourinho's approach, which stood - literally - in stark contrast to his predecessor Louis van Gaal, whose refusal to leave his seat became one of the many points of contention with United supporters.
"We had a chat before the game and during the game you can hear him from the sidelines," said Wigan boss Gary Caldwell.
"He wants to win. It's a friendly game at Wigan but he was desperate to win the game and that shows why and how he has been so successful in his career."
THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON