Jose Mourinho insists solidarity is the key for Manchester United after Paul Pogba is dropped again
Jose Mourinho saluted the unity in his Manchester United team after their most impressive display of the season as they thumped Fulham 4-1 in the absence of Paul Pogba.
Mourinho left his club record signing on the bench as his side produced a thrilling attacking performance against relegation-haunted opponents, with Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford catching they eye with goals and assists.
Ashley Young and Romelu Lukaku were also on the scoresheet and as is often the case with comments from Mourinho, his post match comments may have given a hint that he is not convinced by the commitment of some of his star names to the United cause.
"When there is solidarity in the team, everyone giving their maximum, you attract more positive things," he declared. "When the players give everything, the feeling is still positive. When you give everything for the club, you are a better team.
"We needed this. The last three matches we didn't lose, but didn't win. Now we have two away matches, then two at home. Let's see if we can get more points from those matches.
"The players understood after Arsenal (2-2 draw on Wednesday), when with a bad result you can be happy. They wanted to bring that same mentality to the game today.
"The first half was really good. We gave no chances to Fulham. We were strong, aggressive and intense. At times it was beautiful football. The first half was perfect.
"We were intense without the ball and with the ball. Without the ball we pressed, we kept Mitrovic away from the goal. With the ball it was simple, one or two touches. We were really good.
"We needed it. The last three matches we didn't lose, but didn't win. Now we have two away matches, then two at home. Let's see if we can get more points from those matches. The players have shown they can be a better team than they are."
It was the manner of United's performance as much as the result that will have enthused Mourinho, with Pogba cutting a less than content figure on the bench behind his manager as he was not required to make a second half cameo appearance.
Pogba may be deployed among United's second string players in Wednesday's Champions League game against Valencia, with Mourinho's side already assured of a place in the last 16 of that competition.
Yet Mata deserves to retain his place in the United team for next weekend's game against Liverpool at Anfield, after he Spaniard sacred his 50th Premier League goal amid a classy display.
"We know that we have to start better because it is not right to always be chasing the game," Mata told the BBC. "We need these performances more often. The fans today enjoyed it - that is the Manchester United that we want to see.
"It is not always easy to make sure you don't relax in the second half. They scored, that was as a shock for us, so we needed to score again. Overall, it was a good performance.
"Every game is really, really important. We cannot afford to lose a lot of points from now until the end of the season. We have a difficult task."