"It will be a hard season for everybody, not just for us", the 55-year-old said.
Pogba returned from his exploits with France at the World Cup as recently as Monday but was deemed fit enough to start the match. However, Mourinho's time in charge of the club has been filled with feuding with his players, ownership and the media. Paul [Pogba] was fantastic - his contribution was unbelievable, but the fuel was disappearing every minute, so we were in trouble and we needed [Scott] McTominay and [Marouane] Fellaini to give me that balance in midfield. We were in trouble.
Luke Shaw added a second in the 83rd minute before Jamie Vardy scored what turned out to be a consolation goal in stoppage time. "To know how they feel physically, mentally to try to give us a help".
Jose Mourinho started youngster Andreas Pereira in midfield alongside summer-signing Fred.
"But I told the players we had very good periods, we had lots of glimpses of the football we wanted to play". It was a good match with three good teams, in my opinion.
"But very complete performance, he just has to keep going, the mentality was very good, the tactical discipline was very good too and he had the power to move forward and score an important goal for us". I had my plans for many months and I find myself with the market closed in a situation I did not think I would be in. He said: "I have my players, I like my players, I like to work with my players". Over, it's finished, the market is closed. "We have to wait until the end of November to understand if we can fight for the title".
Shaw, who himself has suffered plenty of criticism from Mourinho in the past two seasons, then appeared to make the game safe when he fired low into the far corner to spark wild celebrations from his manager. Pogba responded with a strong all-round performance, as well as scoring the opening goal after what I have to say was a very odd run-up for his penalty.
A Shaw giveaway deep in his own area in the 75th minute nearly gifted Leicester the leveller, but De Gea made another spectacular save to stop Demarai Gray's first-time shot from a pinpoint Vardy cross.
Whether it were mind games or genuine woe, the Portuguese continually insisted on more additions in his pre-season press conferences and only received Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant in return.