Despite the home side dominating the early exchanges, United equalised ten minutes before half-time when Anthony Martial netted his fifth league goal of the season following a smart cut-back from Alexis Sanchez, sending both sides into the interval on level terms.
Unite manager Jose Mourinho is desperate to ensure that first-team stars De Gea and Martial sign contract extensions at Old Trafford. I bring Herrera. But then Young & Shaw start attacking more, Paul gets much more freedom, the team recover balls higher and then we become more offensive in the period after Ander.
"I think we were much better in the second half". Of course, none of the "big six" in the Premier League are managed by an English coach but teams such as Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and Brighton are all coached by Englishmen. We're going to win a lot of points that way.
"The good thing is the team has the face of a fantastic character and the heart that the game is not over and we go until the end".
"The first half was a disaster", said Mourinho.
Smalling recognises that United's indifferent start has left them with an uphill task in order to attain a top-four finish but he knows any criticism comes with the territory.
But despite that miss by the England striker, whose first Premier League goal since September later redeemed him, Mourinho felt United delivered a much improved performance after the interval. We pressed higher, more intensity and intention. "We created lots of chances and deserved to score before the 92nd minute".
And speaking to BT Sport after the game, Mourinho paid credit to Herrera for the impact he made after coming on early in the second half.
"I think, even going in to this month, it was all about getting results we know we need to move up the table".
"I can't believe we didn't score from the Young free-kick. The two points we lost against Chelsea in the last minute, we got them back today". My assistants were saying this is the best warm-up of the season. Now, Alexis and Lingard are after one good week of work with the team.
With respect to Bournemouth, who have been excellent this season, particularly at home, it is inconceivable to think Juventus will not be out of sight by half-time in Turin on Wednesday if United are similarly sluggish out of the blocks.
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