Seville, February 22: Jose Mourinho hugged a reporter for asking about the performance of Scott McTominay instead of Paul Pogba after Manchester United's 0-0 draw with Sevilla, before going on to shower the young midfielder with praise.
Pogba's status in the United squad has been a hot topic of late, with the Frenchman dropped at the start of the month against Huddersfield Town in the Premier League.
Reports then began to circulate claiming Pogba and Mourinho had fallen out, before the midfielder was left out of the FA Cup win over Huddersfield at the weekend due to illness.
Mourinho has constantly insisted McTominay deserved his initial chance after replacing Pogba, becoming frustrated in news conferences when quizzed on the former Juventus star rather than the United youth product.
But that changed on Wednesday, with Mourinho asked about the performance of McTominay, not Pogba, who only featured because of a 17th-minute injury to Ander Herrera.
And, in response, Mourinho said to BT Sport: "Can I hug you?
"That's a [good] question, because when I went to the press conference all the questions were about Paul.
"I think the questions should be about the kid [McTominay]. I think he was fantastic. He did everything well.
"He put pressure on [Ever] Banega which was important to stop their playmaker playing. He was always comfortable, simple, saving in possession – he was brilliant.
"But I also think, in my opinion, the midfield started well before Herrera had to go out, and then Pogba made a big effort to go into that dynamic, the dynamic we needed and he gave a positive performance."
The result in the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan leaves the tie wide open ahead of the return leg at Old Trafford and Mourinho has called upon supporters to create an atmosphere similar to the one Sevilla fans produced on Wednesday.
"It's a match in our house," he said. "I believe Old Trafford misses a big European night.
"Of course last season we had the Europa League, but that has a different meaning. The year before we had no Champions League, so I think OT needs and they can create a similar atmosphere as here and push us to win a difficult match."