Now that’s Mour like it


Daily Star Sunday - - RESULT! -

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

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