Ibrahimovic inspiration keeps Man United in top-four race

Jessica Allison
April 14, 2017

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has praised his full-back Luke Shaw, despite withdrawing the 21-year-old in the 61st minute of the club's comfortable 3-0 away win over struggling Sunderland.

Sunderland then lost Larsson to a furiously contested straight red card after referee Craig Pawson decided the Swede's challenge on Ander Herrera had been unduly reckless.

The 35-year-old scored the first goal of the game with a sublime turn and finish midway through the first-half and also set up Marcus Rashford for the final strike near the end of the game.

Substitute Rashford completed the scoring late on, exchanging passes with Ibrahimovic and arrowing a low drive into the bottom-left corner. Unable to cover the same ground as he did five years ago, Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he has become a more intelligent footballer as he gets older. "In this lovely weather the game was played at a more slow intensity".

And, after his striker collected the man-of-the-match prize, the United boss said: 'He was very good and physically he showed awesome conditions.

However, former United player and Sky Sports pundit, Phil Neville, had another theory. On Sunday, United host Chelsea in the Premier League in a game where a point is a good result but a win is necessary.

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"After Liverpool and Manchester City's victories, if we didn't win today it's nearly mathematically impossible [to finish fourth]".

Bailly, a summer arrival from Villarreal, welcomes such feedback and believes it will help United's players reach their potential.

The result left Sunderland 10 points adrift of safety at the foot of the table and Mourinho said they had played like a team who were "close to relegation".

"We could probably get a different result but the three points was important thing now". We had a couple of situations but no more than that and we were playing quite compact and solid.

But man-of-the-match Marcos Alonso made the game safe with an exquisite free-kick and Conte said: "Yes, I'm satisfied because it wasn't easy to play this game after the win by Tottenham but our answer was very good".

Europa League might still be the easier/more likely way in for Mourinho and his men, but the manager has not given up on hopes of a top four finish in the league.

Other reports by My Hot News

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