Now that’s Mour like it
JOSE’S MEN ARE STILL A REAL FOUR-CE
THE leap of faith required to believe a top-four finish remains in reach for Manchester United has seemed a chasm at times this season.
But it looked a bit less daunting last night after they posted the biggest win in the top flight since beating Newcastle by the same margin last November.
A victory which lifted United to sixth place in the table was landed by goals from Ashley Young, Juan Mata, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford.
But for manager Jose Mourinho it was the spirit and fight shown by his side which pleased him as much as the goals.
He said: “What I really want is not a single United fan being able to point the finger at us saying we do not give everything is the type of performance that people respect the effort.
“The team was there to win and give everything and when you give everything nobody can point the finger at you.”
This was United’s first victory in five league matches but more importantly, after a battling display against Arsenal on Wednesday night, it is further evidence that United are moving in the right direction.
Rumblings of discontent in the dressing room continue but Mourinho’s ability to steer his side in the right direction is more evident with every win.
It was the rare sight of a happy manager who breezed into the press conference afterwards only to find he had no bottle of water on the desk.
“Are we saving money? No water. Maybe we are saving money for January,” he said.
The reality is that if United can continue to show that they are pulling in the right direction maybe Mourinho could be backed with funds in the transfer window.
Mourinho had lavished praise on his players in his programme notes stressing that “nobody can deny they have guts” after a spirited performance against Arsenal on Wednesday.
But a few of them could be forgiven if those guts were feeling a little queasy this season given the furious rotation of his squad.
No manager in the top flight has made more changes to his starting line-up this campaign than the Portuguese, with four yesterday making it 50 in total.
The most telling of his squad decisions remains the one to keep club-record signing Paul Pogba on the bench – an ongoing gamble which loads the pressure on his shoulders whenever his side are behind in a match or seen to be struggling.
Mourinho could not have wished for a better first-half display from his chosen side, with United dominating possession and effectively