What Was Said: Mourinho pleased with Lukaku’s work rate and what he offers for his new club

Manchester United beat Everton 4-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, returning to the summit of the league, albeit in second place due to Manchester City being the top side, in alphabetical order anyway. United opened the scoring inside the fourth minute as Antonio Valencia latched onto the ball, provided by Nemanja Matic to beat Jordan Pickford to break the deadlock. After the goal, United were frustrating to watch with Romelu Lukaku missing from close-range, his shot off target in what could have been a frustrating day for United, especially if Everton, who tried to get back into the match at times, found an equalising goal. In the second half of the match, despite Everton starting the half in a more commanding way, United found a second goal in the 83rd minute through Henrikh Mkhitaryan, assisted by Lukaku.

The former Everton hitman then scored in the 89th minute to make it 3-0 after Jesse Lingard assisted for him, beating Pickford at the near post to take United lead a bit further and send Everton back to Liverpool knowing that they have been beaten in four successive matches, conceding 11 goals at the time. That was not it for United though. Anthony Martial had just come on as the final substitution, winning a penalty after Morgan Schneiderlin slid to deny the Frenchman from scoring, catching the ball with his trailing hand, this giving United a penalty with Martial taking it, beating Pickford and seeing United score four for the third time in five Premier League matches this season. Jose Mourinho will be happy with the result, perhaps not the play over 90 minutes, but points are all that matters here and United had them in the bag.

United manager Jose Mourinho spoke to the media at the end of the 4-0 humiliation of Everton at Old Trafford talking about specific things from the match, starting with the result. Mourinho thought it could have been a 1-0 or 2-0 scoreline but boy was he wrong. The manager said:

“I always thought it would be 1-0 or 2-0, I ever thought about 1-1. The 2-0 came and then the third and fourth goal were just consequences of a team that was sad and another team that was happy. For me, the third and fourth goals were a little bit out of the context of the game.”

Mourinho then spoke about Antonio Valencia, the scorer of the first goal against Everton. The Portuguese manager was asked if the Ecuadorian always hit shots like that in training, the reply:

“Sometimes he does but it’s obviously not easy to score such an amazing goal. But sometimes he does.”

Romelu Lukaku did not have the best of days against his former side, missing what would have been a simple one-on-one and failing to latch onto chances at times during the game, but in the end the Belgian assisted Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s goal, United second of the match, scoring his own six minutes later. Speaking about Lukaku’s performance, Mourinho said:

“I would be pleased even without that work he does for the team, the way he opens spaces for us in the first half, I was more than pleased. One more goal, fantastic, one assist. But his overall work is more than that.”

Mourinho was also asked why United have been scoring so many goals lately. United scored 54 goals in the Premier League last season, which was poor by the standards set by the teams of Sir Alex Ferguson, but an improvement on Louis van Gaal’s side the season before. This season with 16 goals in five league matches, United have scored almost 30% of their goal tally from last season. Mourinho, speaking about the goal scored this season, said:

“I think the Premier League is becoming very defensive, as I’ve told you before. I think many teams try to play with five at the back plus two or three in the middle. Sometimes four in the middle in some matches. And two teams try to match each other and play the same system and it’s 0-0 or 1-0. Sometimes, when you have a little bit more space, you try in the last part of the game and they were losing 2-0 and they tried to come [at us] more and they gave us more spaces. I think it is down to that.”

David De Gea made his 275th appearance for United this afternoon, keeping his 100th Premier League clean sheet, which is some feat. It was also the 250th time United have kept a clean sheet at Old Trafford in the league, Peter Schmeichel having 68 of his own. Speaking about De Gea, Mourinho said:

“It is more difficult when you are sleeping. You don’t touch the ball for minutes and minutes and minutes and then have an important moment in the game. So it’s even more difficult and even more important.”

At Old Trafford alone this season in the Premier League, United have played three times; West Ham United, Leicester City, and Everton – scoring twelve goals, four in each match, conceding no goals and having the best start in the league since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Fortress Old Trafford was something from the past, but this season, it is becoming a reality once again. Speaking about the form, Mourinho said:

“I’m happy. There is clearly a difference in relation to last season. We played better and we score more goals. Every match is a different match and the next one, against Burton, who come on the back of an important result against a good team like Fulham. It will be another difficult match for us.”

United face Burton Albion at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening in the Carabao Cup, their third home match in a row. United have scored seven goals in the past two matches at the Theatre of Dreams; the 3-0 victory over FC Basel in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening and today’s 4-0 victory over Everton. It will be a bad time for Burton to travel to the Theatre of Dreams with Mourinho looking to keep his team rolling ahead of their visit to St Mary’s to face Southampton in their first Saturday afternoon fixture in the Premier League next weekend. United have done well at the start of the season, dropping only two points in the Premier League, which is a shame as otherwise, they would be top of the league in their own right at this stage of the season. However, there is a long way to go and United will need to keep this kind of form week in and week out which cannot be guaranteed or expected. That is what makes football so interesting.

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