Zlatan Ibrahimovic doubles up for Man United but Michael Carrick is calling the tune

Swansea City 1 Manchester United 3
Zlatan Ibrahimovic doubles up for Man United but Michael Carrick is calling the tune

A touchline ban meant the ‘Special One’ was confined to the stands at the Liberty Stadium, where first-half goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2) and Paul Pogba helped United to only a second league victory in eight games.

However, in the wake of United’s consummate 3-1 success, Mourinho was quick to face the press and explain what he meant when claiming in a television interview, that there are those who want to be here and those who suffer with a little bit of pain.

Mourinho avoided naming names, but the blast came only a few hours after United’s England left back Luke Shaw had withdrawn from the United squad, due to injury. Mourinho said; “What I mean is that we have players with problems, but we also have players on the pitch who have problems.

“I have friends from other sports, playing at the highest level. How many times do they play when they are not 100%?

“I have a friend who is a big tennis player and he tells me he remembers more times when he has played with pain than the times he has played without any pain.

“To compete, you have to work to the limits. It is a cultural thing, for some. But that’s not my culture.”

Asked if players needed to change to play for him, Mourinho said; “Exactly, but more than me, Man United. More than me, Man United.”

With Ashley Young playing at right back, United looked a little lop-sided in the opening minutes. However, when Pogba arrived on the edge of the box, after 14 minutes, to beat Lukasz Fabianski with a stunning 20 yard volley, it was the signal for all out attack.

Ibrahimovic doubled the lead seven minutes later with a smart finish from the edge of the penalty area and duly added his second, and United’s third, 12 minutes from half time, to compound a dreadful half for hapless Swansea.

In fact had the visitors shown a little more composure in front of goal, it might have been six or seven.

Mourinho said; “After the draw again Burnley we needed points. We put in a great performance against Burnley, but only came away with one point.

“We needed three today, more than the performance. But we got both.

“Zlatan does not lack confidence. I used to say a striker who doesn’t score goals and does nothing else, means you have one player less.

“A striker who doesn’t score goals, but does everything else, is a very important player for the team.

“When Zlatan was not scoring goals, he was doing everything else. He was working defensively, he was working in the build up, he was giving assists and he was contributing towards the fact that the goalkeepers who played against us were the man of the match.

“So, he was doing so many things I was not worried. Today we needed goals to win and we got them.”

While Ibrahimovic was calling the tune in the final third, it was veteran Michael Carrick who was dictating the pace of the game in front of his back four. Mourinho added; “I would love Michael to play every game, but that is not possible. He can’t play in every game for the same reason I can no longer go to the gym every day. But he started today and he played very, very well.”

Swansea were dreadful. They were shapeless and lacking in conviction until Mike van der Hoorn rose to beat David de Gea with a firm header 21 minutes from time. Thereafter, they gave it their best shot without ever looking like turning the tables on a United side that was coasting to victory.

Manager Bob Bradley said; “We are in a tough spot, there is no two ways about that. We understand very clearly where we are and there is no hiding from that. I don’t think we showed enough commitment to close people down and we can’t take solace from playing a little better in the second-half.”

The side were roundly booed at half time with many seats vacated long before the final whistle.

Bradley added; “There is only one way to win the support of the fans and that is to play well and to win games.

”We need to focus on the only part we control and that is how we play.

“If the fans are angry, I understand that. We didn’t do enough to win them over. They had every right to be angry.”

SWANSEA CITY (4-4-2): Fabianski 5, Rangel 5, van der Hoorn 5, Mawson 5, Kingsley 5; Routledge 5, Barrow 45, 6, Britton 6 (Fer 65,6), Ki Sung-Yueng 5; Sigurdsson 5; Llorente 4 (Montero 45,6), Borja 5

Subs not used: Norfeldt, Amat, Cork, Naughton

MAN UTD (4-1-4-1): De Gea 6; Young 6, Jones 6, Rojo 7, Darmian 7; Carrick 7; Mata 7 (Lingard 80,6), Pogba 8 (Fosu-Mensah 89, 5), Fellaini 7, Rooney 7, (Schneiderlin 85,5); Ibrahimovic 8

Subs not used: Romero, Martial, Blind, Rashford

Referee: N Swarbrick

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