Manchester United have now won three league games on the trot. Look at them after the four frustrating draws and they look even more important and special. West Bromwich Albion, who have been in good form recently, were expected to be a difficult opponent, especially with their set pieces. But United negated whatever few attacks the opponents put forth and dealt with whatever came their way pretty easily, honestly, a little more comfortably than the United supporters thought. It was a very solid performance from the United defense, who did not give much away. This is not only United’s third win on the trot it is also their second clean sheet. Considering the fact that, both the first choice center backs were out injured, the defence of Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones have responded to the manager’s call supremely well. However, tonight’s show was run by the Swedish hero, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. With his third brace of the season, Ibrahimovic made sure that there were no nervous moments in the last ten minutes. Talking post game, the striker expressed his delight at the goals but more importantly at the result.
“It went good. It was a difficult game which we were prepared for. We said it would be more difficult than Crystal Palace and the guys did a fantastic job. This game we won as a collective.
“I’m feeling good. At the end I was a little bit tired. When the team is doing good it is easier but the most important thing is the three points.”
He also admitted that in spite of feeling tired he still felt fresh out there.
“I feel fresh. I’m confident and when the team is doing good, it’s easier. When you can win like this, it’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful day.”
Ibrahimovic also found a fan in the former Red Devil, Andy Cole
“Man Utd’s performance was very efficient. They haven’t picked up the wins they would have liked this season but they are getting some momentum now. I am one of Zlatan’s biggest fans, I was really looking forward to see how he’d fit into the Premier League and he’s done it seamlessly.”
There was a touch of class from United players after the game, where they gave away their jerseys to some fans in the crowd. Jose Mourinho explained what was the reason and belief behind doing so.
“I told them to do that. It’s Christmas time. For a fan, a shirt coming from a game with sweat means a lot. For them, it’s just one more shirt. Probably, they will arrive in the dressing room and give it to the kit man or give to a friend or a friend from West Brom.
“I think for the fans, it means a lot. It’s a pity not everyone can get one. But for the ones who get it, I think it’s a great feeling.”
Talking about the game, the manager expressed his immense pleasure that he took in his player’s professional performance today.
“So happy. Great performance, even better than the last one against Crystal Palace. Very solid from the first minute and everything under control. We coped well with difficult things that West Brom always bring to the game. We had our identity to keep the ball, press high. So I am really happy.”
He mentioned his apprehension and worry about playing West Brom, especially due to some of his past experiences.
“You are always worried and I’ve had matches here and against Tony’s teams where they can score a goal in a set play and then can give you hell in the last minutes. It happened to me with Chelsea.”
Speaking further he explained how, with United, winning isn’t the only thing, playing well matters a lot too.
“One thing is to know we are working well and another is to work well and get the results.
“We have to try to win as many points as possible. At some clubs you can play bad football if it is winning football. At other clubs you cannot do that and Manchester United is one of those clubs. You have to win and play well.”
Talking about the goalscorer and the man of the match today, Mourinho focussed on the Swede’s mental toughness and credited that for his recent consistent performances.
“I’m so pleased for him (Zlatan). He is the kind of player who doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone but when he decided to come to England for the last period of his career – to the most difficult championship in the world – I think he proved he is a superman in his mentality.
“What he is doing at 35 is a dream for every striker of 25 in the Premier League. I need to give him a rest. Now we have a little rest for the first time. It is not just him but everybody.”
With only three and four points off Manchester City and Arsenal respectively, who play each other tomorrow, United are certain to make some ground on either of them or both. Liverpool, who will face Everton in the Merseyside Derby, are also only four points ahead of United and with them playing City and United in the next few games, anything can happen in the top four race now. United will only want to take as many points as they can, preferably all, from the next few fixtures. United were putting in good performances but were unable to hold the fort and get over the line, they have done so for the past three league games and they would want to continue doing so for as long as they can. With United not playing the last game of the weekend and a mouth-watering top four clash coming up tomorrow, United fans can now settle down in their Christmas mood and enjoy their rest of weekend. Let the good times stay for long!