Pres­sure eases af­ter United en­joy vic­tory

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL -

JOSE MOUR­INHO thanked Manch­ester United fans for pro­pel­ling their side to a timely win that the man­ager be­lieves should help an­swer un­der-fire Ed Wood­wards crit­ics.

As if the de­feat at Brighton was not enough, the pres­sure in­creased head­ing to Burn­ley af­ter Tot­ten­ham in­flicted the heav­i­est home de­feat of the Por­tuguese’s man­age­rial ca­reer on Mon­day.

Mour­inho’s men ral­lied im­pres­sively at Turf Moor and Romelu Lukaku’s first-half brace se­cured a win far more com­fort­able than the 2-0 score­line sug­gests.

The United man­ager clam­bered over the ad­ver­tis­ing hoard­ings at full-time and gave his jacket to one of the fans that had chanted his name through­out, stick­ing with their team as they did on Mon­day.

“I think we start win­ning this match be­cause of Old Traf­ford af­ter Spurs,” said Mour­inho. “We lose at home, if the fans re­act bad, the team loses con­fi­dence, the week is not a good week, the team feels pres­sure and the next match is even more dif­fi­cult.

“We lost at home, the fans were amaz­ing to the team, the team un­der­stood that the di­rec­tion was good, the re­sult was bad.

“The week was not a sad week. It was a very good week of work and we started the week as you saw.

“Then the fans, of course, were to­gether with the team, es­pe­cially in the way the team was play­ing and I feel a bit sorry that we didn’t score a cou­ple of goals in front of them be­cause that would be magic for them.”

Put to him that the fans’ re­sponse to him was par­tic­u­larly no­table, Mour­inho added: “But with me is not im­por­tant. Im­por­tant is the team.

“I al­ways say that the man­ager is not im­por­tant, the team is im­por­tant. The man­ager doesn’t play.

“I have miles and miles and miles on the touch­line to cope with ev­ery dif­fer­ent re­ac­tion from the crowd. For the play­ers, it’s more im­por­tant.

“I am re­ally happy with the per­for­mance, with the re­sult and to give that good feel­ing to the fans and to say, hon­estly, that prob­a­bly they are the big­gest re­spon­si­ble for our week be­cause of the way they re­acted af­ter Spurs.”

Vic­tory pro­vided wel­come re­lief as a dif­fi­cult start to the cam­paign that had seen pres­sure mount on play­ers and staff.

Ex­ec­u­tive vice-chair­man Wood­ward has been the fo­cus of many sup­port­ers’ ire and a fan­funded plane flew over Turf Moor de­scrib­ing him as ‘a spe­cial­ist in fail­ure’.

It would have been 3-0 had Joe Hart not saved Paul Pogba’s penalty shortly be­fore Mar­cus Rash­ford was sent off for putting his head into Phil Bard­s­ley’s af­ter re­act­ing to a kick.

Burn­ley were un­able to cap­i­talise on that man ad­van­tage in the clos­ing stages of a match that Sean Dy­che’s men had looked leggy in af­ter Thurs­day’s Europa League exit to Olympiakos.

PIC­TURE: MARTIN RICKETT/PA

Mar­cus Rash­ford clashes with Burn­ley’s Phillip Bard­s­ley, left, lead­ing to a red card for the Eng­land in­ter­na­tional, al­though his team com­fort­ably won 2-0 at Turf Moor.

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