August 19, 2017
Manchester United beat Swansea City 4-0 at the Liberty Stadium in the second Premier League match of the season on Saturday afternoon. It was United’s second 4-0 victory of the season, which leaves them top of the league, albeit on goal difference. United have a five goal advantage over Huddersfield United, who were top of the league at this time last week. Of course, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Manchester City and Everton could still be top of the league by the time the match between the latter has concluded on Monday evening. United have started the season well, scoring four goals in each match, a total of eight, most of which have been scored in quick succession, maybe not as quick as three were scored in Swansea this afternoon. Jose Mourinho will be feeling great ahead of the visit of Leicester City to Old Trafford in the evening kick off next Saturday, just before the first international break of the new season.
Against Swansea, defender Eric Bailly, pouncing on the header from Paul Pogba which hit the inside of the crossbar, rebounding on the line, not crossing it, did not let the chance to open his account with the club go a miss, pushing the ball into the back of the net just before half time, putting United 1-0 after a match which saw a stubborn Swansea side start to get the better of United. In the second half, Swansea were just as stubborn with both teams having chances during the half. In the 75th minute, Mourinho brought on both Anthony Martial and Marouane Fellaini, taking off Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata and this seemed to change the game. In the 80th minute, United doubled their lead through Romelu Lukaku, assisted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and under two minutes later, Paul Pogba scored United’s third, assisted by the Armenian. In the 84th minute, Anthony Martial scored a fourth, assisted by Pogba this time.
Mourinho, speaking about United 4-0 victory, the second in a week to MUTV, which was reported by the official Manchester United website quotes the manager talking about the strong finish and late goals, saying:
“Yes, but in the last few minutes it’s because the opponent is losing and trying to get the ball. The reality of the game was 75 minutes, 1-0 and the result open. Okay, I always felt on the bench the game was under control and the team was confident to have the ball. We were winning 1-0 and not defending and trying to score more goals but the game was open. I feel very happy with the difficulty of the match and the way we explored their fragile moments at the end of the game.”
The Portuguese manager also spoke about United’s back-to-back 4-0 victories in the Premier League over West Ham United and now Swansea City, saying:
“I think the team is confident and in both matches winning 1-0 at half-time, we didn’t start the second half looking like we had to keep a clean sheet to win the match. We tried to control the game by keeping the ball and creating chances and we did that in both matches. The players that came on from the bench did well. Easy for me to make decisions, easy for me to make changes. The players make the manager look better and I thank their fantastic attitude, even the ones that weren’t selected because we know we have to have a squad to do something special this season.”
Mourinho also spoke about confidence and the fact it is not always as easy as United have made their first two matches look, saying:
“The word that describes better the team now is confidence. The team is confident, the team starts the game confident, the team starts the second half confident. But I want to see the way we emotionally react to losing it because it’s also another stage – be losing and try to change a result because in this moment everything is going in our favour. You know, it’s not always motorway. You always find difficult roads and we have to be ready.”
The United manager also spoke about his side building on this victory and the one last week, continuing the momentum, saying:
“Of course, this time last season we had six points from our first two games and we finished sixth. This start means nothing. The important thing for me is we’ve played well in these two games and we have to keep that going. I don’t like that people are looking at these matches and thinking they are easy matches, but the team is consistent and confident and we have to carry on.”
United will have a week’s rest before they entertain Leicester City at Old Trafford in the early evening Premier League kick off on Saturday 26th August, the Bank Holiday weekend in the United Kingdom. During the week though, United will find out the three other teams in their group in the UEFA Champions League, with the draw commencing shortly after 16:30 BST on Thursday 24th August and the third round draw of the Carabao Cup to take place on Wednesday 23rd August, which should give United seven more fixtures to worry about this season, making it a tough period from September with at least two matches a week for must of the remainder of the year, if United progress in the league cup, that is. United will be confident from that start they have had this season, but with the Champions League and Carabao Cup matches coming from September, the squad will need to be utilised keeping United fresh throughout the season.