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Stu­art Mathieson


Rash­ford’s strike might have spared Ed Wood­ward more grief from Mour­inho, too.

The Por­tuguese still yearns for a wing-back and his full-backs con­trib­uted lit­tle against a stub­born Le­ices­ter.

Da­ley Blind has demon­strated lit­tle over the last six weeks to sug­gest Mour­inho should pro­long with him at left-back be­yond the in­ter­na­tional fort­night.

Mour­inho re­it­er­ated his de­sire for a left-sided sign­ing again on Fri­day and Lukaku gave Blind a pep talk, which nearly paid off when Lukaku skimmed the Dutch­man’s cross to­wards the end of the first half. Still, the full­backs’ er­ratic ef­forts should have faded into in­signif­i­cance af­ter ref­eree Michael Oliver cor­rectly ad­judged Danny Simp­son had han­dled in­side the Le­ices­ter area - but Lukaku saw his spot­kick saved.

United iron­i­cally per­formed bet­ter in the first 45 min­utes than their pre­vi­ous first halves at Swansea and West Ham yet were not re­warded. Lukaku held off Wes Mor­gan and Harry Maguire with for­mi­da­ble re­silience and his steel was com­ple­mented with silk by An­thony Mar­tial and Juan Mata, as United’s for­wards in­ter­changed ef­fort­lessly against their un­set­tled vis­i­tors.

Mour­inho clapped United for­ward and co­in­ci­den­tally sparked a stir­ring spell as Mata had a goal chalked off from an off­side po­si­tion, Kasper Sch­me­ichel the­atri­cally de­nied Lukaku’s curler and Paul Pogba di­verted An­thony Mar­tial’s cross wide dur­ing a first-half flurry.

But Le­ices­ter held on and the half was eerily rem­i­nis­cent of United’s dom­i­nant draws at home last sea­son.

Sch­me­ichel’s save ex­tended the par­al­lels un­til Rash­ford struck. United re­main top of the podium.

Jesse Lin­gard and Marouane Fel­laini cel­e­brate United’s sec­ond goal

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