Paul Scholes: “Manchester United over the last six weeks have looked the real United of old”

That was exactly what Manchester United and Jose Mourinho would have hoped for. United has beaten Reading 4-0 in what was a pretty one-sided game of football. Mourinho’s United team came in to this game on the back of a seven-match winning streak and have now extended it to eight, the last time they did it was in 2009. Things are starting to click and look in order for United and this performance just proved it. The manager has, rightly so, rested a few of his crucial players in order to have them fresh for the Hull City and the Liverpool game. Team’s performance made sure that he did not have to bring on any of these crucial players to make anything happen.

United were on top of the game right from the first minute and it was only a matter of time before they scored and it couldn’t have been a better person scoring it. Wayne Rooney who has been stuck on his 248th goal for some time now has finally equalled Sir Bobby Charlton’s long-standing record of 249 goals. He looked expectedly joyous about the occasion but has his heart set on the record, targeting the next two games to get it over the line.

“It is a proud moment. To do it at such a massive club like Manchester United, I am hugely honoured and it is really proud moment for me. It was not something I could have imagined. You don’t think that far ahead, but I have been at this club a long time, it is a huge part of my life and it is an honour to be up there alongside Sir Bobby.

“You want to do records in front of your home fans and we have got two home games coming up and hopefully I can get the next one in one of those.”

Rooney also took the chance to express his appreciation for Reading’s positive frame of mind while playing their football, instead of just sitting back and wait for something to happen.

“We played some good stuff and scored some good goals. Reading are a good team, they try and play in the right way which is refreshing to see, we are happy with the win and it is a good day for the club.”

The manager was impressed with his team’s professional and solid performance.

“I am happy because it was a professional job from minute one. We knew Reading that could create difficulties especially if you allow them to settle in the game. It is also good for me to see some of the players that are not starting in many games – they are good physically and I can count on them for the rest of the season.

“We play well, but not better than in some matches in which we did not win. Everything is built on some not so good result. It was a very important for the creation of empathy and a strong group.”

Talking about Marcus Rojo’s injury, he said

“I don’t know. I have to wait a bit. A muscle is a muscle and we are a little bit afraid of it. Without Eric Bailly, it is more important.”

Talking about Rooney’s goal and the anticipated record goal, Mourinho’s admiration for the United captain was evident

“A more special day will arrive. It was great but I want one more goal! He is an amazing guy in the group and we all want him to do that. To have Wayne as the top scorer in a club like this is magnificent for him.”

United winning eight games on the bounce, in itself, is a good achievement but what makes it even more special is the way in which the team got those three points. United, in the past three years, have only regressed when it came to the style of play. There was no sense of positivity when it came to the outlook of players but Mourinho has turned that around in a matter of six months. Who better to acknowledge it than Paul Scholes, who was one of the frequent critics of Louis van Gaal’s playing style.

“Manchester United over the last six weeks have looked the real Manchester United of old. They want to score goals, they’re playing with purpose, they’re creating chances all the time – and they’re difficult to play against.”

Speaking about his former teammate, Rooney, and his record, he expressed his delight while also pointing out how important the former Everton player has been for United.

“It’s not one of his better goals, but it has been a long time coming,”

“He won’t care where it comes, from as long as it’s in the back of the net it still means the same thing. It is great for him and I’m so happy for him.

“What a signing he has been, his longevity as well, he has still the desire to score goals and win trophies for this football club.”

With so much of momentum, United should pretty easily brush Hull City aside in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-finals but the real test will be on next Sunday when they face their arch-rivals, Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s side has been in an excellent goal scoring form and Mourinho will be wary of that. That game can literally make or break United’s season as winning it will put them just two points off Liverpool, who a few weeks back were 10 points clear. With so much at stake, Mourinho will be glad that the likes of Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic got the much-needed rest. Some pretty critical and interesting weeks are coming up and I, for one, cannot wait for it!

Written by Chinmay Padhye


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