Jose Mourinho issues a serious warning to Manchester United's rivals after Sunderland stroll
Jose Mourinho suggested his rapidly improving Manchester United team are ready to shine in 2017 after they won a fourth successive Premier League match by beating Sunderland 3-1.
As Black Cats boss David Moyes made his first return to Old Trafford since he was sacked as United manager in April 2014, Mourinho’s rapidly evolving team had too much class for their visitors as they notched a fourth successive Premier League win.
Goals from Daley Blind and Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired United towards victory, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s sensational back-heeling finishing sealing the result for Mourinho’s men.
While a challenge for the title looks out of reach for United after their slow start to the season, Mourinho suggested they have been close to finding winning form for several months.
“We have played well for a long time,” he stated. “I think our game against Burnley (0-0 draw) was absolutely phenomenal. We played better against Burnley than today.
“The good performances we had for quite some time. Finally we have the good results, four victories and 12 points in a row and now we want to even more.
“The players know the principles of how we play and they are comfortable, but we need to improve.
“I didn’t like the first half performance. I like the result. I liked very much the second half. The first half I didn’t like. I was expecting us to start much better.
“I know David Moyes and Sunderland deserved credit for what they did in the first half.
“Second half we had everything back intensity recover the ball high in the pitch play fast passes and to have players like Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the bench helps. We deserve the victory.”
Meahwhile, Moyes was philosophical on his Old Trafford return, as he accepted his team were second best against United.
“I thought it was fine. Manchester United supporters are knowledgeable, they have seen some good teams and bad teams. They are knowledgeable. Most of them were very good,” said Moyes of the reaction he received from United fans.
He went on to suggest his team deserved credit for a battling effort that came to nothing after second half goals from Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan.
“Up until 1-0 we had a good chance to get something out of the game but we gave away a dreadful second goal and the third was offside,” he added.
“We hung in. We sort of stifled them, stuck at it and said if we could hold it at 1-0, they might get nervous in the last 10 minutes but we couldn’t do it.
“The second and third goals we gave away were poor, but we did okay in patches of the game and we have to believe from this point forward.
“We are going to have to try and galvanise from within. It is not a situation I am used to but some of the players are. I hope we can find a way.
“I think we are optimistic because we have got a couple of results. We are on their tails.”
Irish Independent Sport Star Awards
Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.