What Was Said: Mourinho praises Fellaini and talks about his ‘Ruthless Reds’

Manchester United won their sixth Premier League match of the season, beating Crystal Palace 4-0 at Old Trafford. Palace have not won a single match in the league this season, also failing to score a single goal and this match was always going to be tough for them. Juan Mata scored the opener inside three minutes, Marcus Rashford providing the assist. After some good play, United doubled their lead in the 35th minute with a header by Marouane Fellaini, assisted by Ashley Young, heading into the break two goals to the good. Fellaini pounced on a Rashford cross four minutes into the second half, increasing United’s lead, 3-0 with Palace having some good spells in possession, not doing anything with it.

United welcomed Palace on the ball, dealing with the little pressure they gave before Romelu Lukaku scored his eleventh goal in ten matches, assisted by Anthony Martial. The Frenchman was unlucky not to score himself minutes before, having a one-on-one with Wayne Hennessey late in the second half. United will be happy with their win though, back to the top of the league, which is dependant on the result between Chelsea and Manchester City in the evening match. An international break (boring) will now see a rest from club football with United taking on Liverpool in the Premier League in a fortnight’s time.

United manager, Jose Mourinho, spoke to the media after the victory over Palace, discussing his side’s victory which puts them to the top of the league again. Mourinho started by talking about how his side were in control of the match, saying:

“I’d rather swap one 4-0 win for four 1-0 victories but I know that’s not possible. We are happy, we played solid, we played strong from the beginning, we were in good control. There were some little mistakes, which is typical from some of their players and is typical from playing against a team which is lacking in confidence, which they are.”

Mourinho then spoke about the five changes he made ahead of the match, based on the team selected in Moscow. He said:

“We tried to change some players and we did that with five [changes from the team that won in Moscow] and I think these five make the difference. You could see [Antonio] Valencia, Phil [Jones], [Marouane] Fellaini, [Juan] Mata and [Marcus] Rashford were at a different stage than [Romelu] Lukaku and [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan, which is normal. But the combination worked well, the players coming from the bench also helped and we deserved the victory that we need.”

The manager also spoke about the goals, which are not reliant on a particular player this season, coming from all across the pitch. Mourinho, speaking about the goals, said:

“We always expect a striker to score more goals than the others but especially our attacking players, they have the freedom to play. They can always be in finishing areas, in fact I want them to be, so if people like Lingard, Mata, Mkhitaryan and Martial score goals, I think it’s just a natural consequence of the way we play.”

Heaping praise on Marouane Fellaini, score scorer of two goals against Palace, Mourinho said:

“He is a great player and character and we have a good relationship. A strong character who resists the difficulties here. Some people did not recognise his qualities so he has to be a strong character. He is a fighter. I am really pleased that I help him reach this level and to change the perception that the fans have now. I am really happy for him. Fellaini has important qualities and I try and use his qualities depending on the situations. He plays with me as a defensive midfielder and as a second striker and adapts to the needs of the team.”

Mourinho also spoke about how he is pleased with his side this season, winning six out of seven (the other a draw) in the Premier League, winning two UEFA Champions League matches and setting up a last 16 place in the Carabao Cup, trophies are an option for United this season. The manager said:

“I need good players and good people. I need players with maturity. With the concept of ‘team’. I know the new players are more individuals as the society makes them this way. Valencia, Mata, Matic and others, it’s great to have these players.”

Mourinho concluded by speaking about his ‘Ruthless Reds’. Last season in the first four matches at Old Trafford, United amassed eight points. This season, United have twelve points out of twelve at home, turning the Theatre of Dreams into a fortress once again. The manager said:

“It’s just four matches at home [so far this season]. In the same four matches last season we picked up eight points, not 12. We are playing well, not for 90 minutes as sometimes we have periods where we lose our consistency in what I call quality with high intensity, but it is difficult to do that for 90 minutes after a Champions League game. I am happy we start the season very strong, respecting the opponents but not giving them the chance to be stable in the game, so I am very happy with the points.”

United now head into the second international break of the season, meaning club football will not return until the 14th October when United take on Liverpool – their first big challenge of the season. United will need to ensure all players come back from the international unscathed, and some of the injured players can find fitness ahead of the match. United will be seeking a win against Liverpool, showing their doubters what they have doubted this season – all because they have not been pitted against any big opposition yet. The fact is, United are at the top of the Premier League table, dependent on the result at Stamford Bridge this evening, but even if City win, United will still be keeping up the chase with their local rivals.

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