Jose Mourinho has admitted he would not have sold Angel Di Maria or Javier Hernandez had he been in charge earlier at Manchester United.
Di Maria arrived at Old Trafford to great fanfare in 2014, but despite some brilliant moments failed to settle under Louis van Gaal.
He moved on just a year later to Paris Saint-Germain, where he lifted Ligue 1 in his first season; and Mourinho rues his premature sale.
"When I first arrived, I found a sad club. Manchester United sold players that I never would have sold, and bought players I never would have bought," he explained to the BBC.
"I would never have sold Di Maria, Chicharito or Danny Welbeck, never, no chance."
Mourinho also defended Paul Pogba's form after recent criticism and hailed the influence of 35-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has scored 26 goals in his debut season at Old Trafford.
"It isn't easy for Pogba," he said, "The country is so different to Italian football. It is hard for him. I'm not disappointed at all. The most important thing is his personality. He is professional and he will improve for sure.
"Zlatan is not a surprise for me. I know the personality, I know the body, I know the ambition that brought him here.
"Could he do it in the best league in the world? He has done it everywhere else. He's doing amazingly well."