Manchester United destroy Fulham to ease pressure on Mourinho
Premier League, Old Trafford - Manchester United 4 (Young 13, Mata 28, Lukaku 42, Rashford 82) Fulham 1 (Kamara 67, Anguissa s/o 68)
Manchester United returned to winning ways to ease some pressure on their under-fire manager Jose Mourinho, scoring three times in a first half blitz in a 4-1 victory over Fulham.
The hosts came into the game slumped in eighth place in the Premier League table following back-to-back draws against Southampton and Arsenal, but this result and performance will have satisfied the Old Trafford faithful.
It took United, with Paul Pogba on the bench, just 13 minutes to break the deadlock, with Ashley Young firing home a wonderful strike, finding the top corner from a tight angle. It was 2-0 just before the half hour mark as Juan Mata calmly finished from a Marcus Rashford cross.
Romelu Lukaku made it three just before the half time break, finishing from close range after good work from Juan Mata down the left side. From that point on, United coasted, allowing Fulham back into the contest through an Aboubakar Kamara penalty kick.
However, Fulham’s hopes of a comeback were dashed just seconds later when Andre Zambo Anguissa was shown a second yellow card for a tackle on Rashford. The United forward went on to cap his, and United’s, performance with another goal, putting the finishing touches on a convincing 4-1 victory.
Jose Mourinho watches Manchester United in action against FulhamGetty Images
TALKING POINT - Have Man Utd found a solution to their right back woes?
Mourinho has struggled to find the right formula at right back this season. With Antonio Valencia injured, Young - by trade a left winger - has been used there in recent weeks, but on this basis Man Utd finally have a solution for that problem area. Dalot was outstanding against Fulham, giving the hosts a different attacking dimension. He was also solid defensively, showing nous beyond his 19 years. Dalot looks to have a bright future at Old Trafford.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
Rashford has hit a vein of form of late. He notched two assists in the draw against Southampton last week and played well against Arsenal during the week as well. Here, Rashford contributed another brace of assists, giving Man Utd some much-needed forward thrust. Finally, Mourinho sees the youngster as a key member of his attacking lineup and this was another demonstration of what he can offer.
Marcus Rashford, Manchester UnitedGetty Images
13’ GOAL! Manchester United 1-0 Fulham: Man Utd have an early lead and it has come from an unlikely source! It's Young! The left back twists and turns and cuts inside before curling home a finish from about 15 yards out. That was a wonderful strike from Young! No stopping that.
28’ GOAL! Manchester United 2-0 Fulham: There's a second for Man Utd and it's Mata who finds the back of the net this time! Rashford got down the left side, burst into the Fulham box, squared the ball for Mata, who met it first time and guided the finish into the bottom corner.
42’ GOAL! Manchester United 3-0 Fulham: It's THREE! Man Utd are coasting and it's Lukaku who adds his name to the score sheet! Mata gets round the back of the Fulham defence, squares for the Belgian striker who has the simple task of finishing from close range.
59’ Smalling comes off! Hmmmm that will be a worry for Mourinho. Smalling seems to have picked up an injury and he walks down the tunnel after being replaced by Rojo. The Argentinean will get the last 30 minutes.
61’ That was a sitter! That should have been a fourth United goal. Mata dribbles his way into the Fulham box, squares it for Herrera, who somehow drags his low shot wide of the gaping goal.
65’ PENALTY KICK TO FULHAM! The visitors have the chance to pull one back from the spot after a trip from Herrera on Kamara.
66’ GOAL! Manchester United 3-1 Fulham: It was Kamara who was fouled in the box after a turn and it's the striker who tucks away the spot kick from 12 yards out. Fulham have given themselves a lifeline in this match. United have something to worry about now.
68’ SENT OFF! Fulham's lifeline didn't last long. Anguissa is shown a second yellow card after a challenge on Rashford. Down to 10 men.
84’ Should have been five! McTominay should have found the back of the net with his first touch! Dalot picked out the Scotland international with a cross, but his header was tame.
This was United's first home victory by more than one goal since the 2-0 win over Swansea in March.
Romelu Lukaku scored at Old Trafford for the first time since 31 March 2018, a run of 252 days and 14 games without a home goal.
Juan Mata became only the third Spanish player to both score more than 50 goals and register more than 50 assists in Premier League history (after Cesc Fabregas and David Silva).
Manchester United have now conceded (26) two fewer goals than they did over the course of the whole 2017/18 Premier League campaign.