Sport Soccer

Thursday 18 January 2018

Jose Mourinho makes swift exit after Manchester United beat Crystal Palace

Jose Mourinho set for a big summer of spending with Manchester United
Jose Mourinho set for a big summer of spending with Manchester United

Jose Mourinho was keen to make a swift exit after Manchester United beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at Old Trafford three days before their Europa League final clash with Ajax.

Having seen the youngest United team in Premier League history wrap up the club's domestic season with the win, Mourinho left little time for post-match media commitments.

The Portuguese spoke to United's in-house channel MUTV only very briefly following the game, saying: "Don't ask me too many things because now I am in a final.

"Let me go home, I am in a final now."

When then asked if he knew his team for the final in Stockholm, Mourinho replied: "I know, but let me go. I am in a final now."

Mourinho also entered the room for his post-match press conference while most of the journalists at the ground were still in the press box to watch the players taking part in a lap of honour.

The press officer with him immediately asked if there were any questions, and after none were forthcoming in the six seconds or so before she then said "No?", Mourinho promptly added "good - bye guys" and left.

United went into this contest already certain of finishing outside the Champions League places in sixth.

They will gain access to Europe's premier club competition if they win on Wednesday, and with an eye on the Ajax match, Mourinho rested numerous players on Sunday as he handed full debuts to four youngsters.

Each of that quartet of Joel Pereira, Demetri Mitchell, Scott McTominay and Josh Harrop performed well.

And it was 21-year-old midfielder Harrop who provided the highlight of the game when he marked his senior bow with a superb strike to open the scoring in the 15th minute. Paul Pogba then doubled United's lead four minutes later.

The final stages of the match saw Wayne Rooney, on what was possibly his final competitive appearance at Old Trafford with United, being substituted for 16-year-old Angel Gomes, who became the first player born in 21st century to feature in a Premier League game, and the youngest player to have represented the Red Devils in the division.

Although Palace hit the post through Christian Benteke in the second half, they rarely showed much attacking threat.

The Eagles, who finish 14th, had already avoided relegation and boss Sam Allardyce felt a lacklustre first-half display from his men was due to them struggling for motivation.

The former England boss was, though, keen after the match to hail the club's "big achievement" in getting out of trouble.

Allardyce, who took over at Palace in December, said: "Our first-half performance was really decidedly average. The goals that we conceded were avoidable.

"We had a go in the second half but couldn't find a goal to put a little bit more pressure on Man United and we finish this season with a loss.

"But overall it has been a great success since the turn of the year and a big achievement by all the players, all the backroom staff, and the owners, to get to where we are - to get safe without having to come to Man United for any points."

He added: "The finish is the joy of doing this job. The hardest bit is the beginning, the turnaround, the time and hours and days you spend to try to reverse what is a difficult situation, behind the scenes and on the pitch.

"Beating Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool (all in April) was a great thrill."

Press Association

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