Jose Mourinho has lauded Ivan Perisic following the winger’s Man of the Match performance in Croatia’s World Cup semifinal victory over England on Wednesday.
Perisic scored the equalising goal and then provided the assist for Mario Mandzukic’s winner as Zlatko Dalic’s side came from behind to record a 2-1 victory after extra-time, producing a display that reminded viewers why the former Inter boss had made him his number one transfer target after taking charge of Manchester United last summer.
Mourinho was ultimately unable to sign Perisic in 2017 after Inter refused to budge from their initial €50-million asking price, but he remains a big fan of the forward and praised his performance against England while appearing as an analyst on Russia Today.
“Perisic is a different kind of winger to a lot of others in his position,” he said. “Normally you judge wide players on their pace and creativity, but he’s physical too – exceptionally physical – and in the air he’s fantastic.
“You can only win the header that he won to set up Mandzukic if you’re a physically strong player and know how to dominate opposition defenders. The way he won that aerial duel was surprising.”