Manchester United ended a difficult week with a truly commanding performance. Three first-half goals, two of which were assisted by Wayne Rooney, saw them send Swansea to a 3-1 defeat. Jose Mourinho made several changes due both to injuries and perceived loss of form yet was rewarded with this resounding win.
United were merciless. Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to goal-scoring form, acquiring a first-half brace, and Paul Pogba netted the game’s crucial first with a superb strike from distance. Wayne Rooney looked as precise and inventive as he has in months while Michael Carrick was quietly supreme at the base of midfield. The makeshift back four also held up surprisingly well, with Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young the pick of the defence.
Very few. The only major one was perhaps in terms of selection, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan again surprisingly left out of the matchday squad. Given this result, however, Mourinho will feel thoroughly vindicated.
Manager rating out of 10
8/10 — Jose Mourinho got this completely right. His forwards played with intensity and punished a limited Swansea team from the very beginning, and his makeshift defence showed impressive discipline. At the heart of it all, as for so many years, was Michael Carrick.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK David De Gea, 6 — Had little to do other than removing the ball from his net once in the second half. Made a good save low to his right as Swansea mounted a brief, late rally.
DF Ashley Young, 7 — Disciplined from start to finish, sticking doggedly to his brief and even getting forward on a handful of occasions. Was excellent under pressure when dropping deep to sweep up loose balls.
DF Phil Jones, 7 — Dealt fairly comfortably with the increased threat posed by Jefferson Montero when he came on in the second half. Cleared his lines without fuss.
DF Marcos Rojo, 7 — His passing out from the back, often his greatest strength, was not so good today but his anticipation was better than usual against an admittedly limited attack.
DF Matteo Darmian, 7 — Replaced Luke Shaw at left-back and produced a composed display that might see him retain his place. Didn’t offer much flash but was assured on his flank.
MF Marouane Fellaini, 6 — Passed the ball fairly well if lacking in ambition and gave the midfield useful solidity.
MF Michael Carrick, 8 — The elegant centre of United’s best play, turning away from the pressing attackers with ease and playing the ball crisply into the final third. Always available for the pass and always found room between the lines.
MF Paul Pogba, 8 — Opened the scoring with the type of strike that has made him famous, bewildered opponents with his quick feet, and made patient decisions time and again. One of his best displays so far.
MF Juan Mata, 7 — Quietly, busily effective, his quick feet finding him space time and again. Kept possession well and prompted his team forward.
FW Wayne Rooney, 8 — One of his best performances in months. Ran at players with confidence, was unlucky to have a deserved goal ruled out for offside and looked very sharp throughout, his touch precise and his movement intelligent.
FW Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 8 — Two fine strikes ended his drought and he also continued to show fine link-up play and a little more urgency than usual. His passing could have been a little better but he showed why he has been trusted at the helm of the team’s attack.
MF Jesse Lingard, N/A (for Mata, 81) — Came on to help United preserve their advantage, and pressed high as they saw the game out.
MF Morgan Schneiderlin, N/A (for Rooney, 89) — Hardly got a touch, his change allowing Rooney to take a much-deserved ovation.
MF Tim Fosu-Mensah, N/A (for Pogba, 90 + 3) — Barely got involved so late on.
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate