MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, March 10, (AFP): Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho railed against his critics after Marcus Rashford’s flashing early double saw off Liverpool at Old Trafford with a 2-1 win, despite having just 32 percent of possession.
Liverpool were left to rue a slow start as Rashford twice finished with astonishing verve to lift second placed United five points clear of the visitors after Romelu Lukaku had outmuscled Dejan Lovren.
The visitors dominated after the break, but could only find a response via a United player when Eric Bailly turned into his own net 24 minutes from time.
“If people don’t think we deserved it, I don’t care,” Mourinho said.
“We can split the halves. United first half and Liverpool second but in my opinion our first half was a half with goals and danger.
“In the second half…was Liverpool controlling with the ball and United controlling without the ball.”
Just a second defeat in 21 Premier League games leaves Liverpool still in third, but they could drop to fourth if Tottenham win at Bournemouth on Sunday.And Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp raged at the decision not to award his side a penalty when Sadio Mane tumbled under a challenge from Marouane Felliani as Klopp’s men saw three penalty appeals in all waived away.
“Second-half we had to continue chasing the game, then we scored the goal and should have been a penalty around Felliani situation on Sadio,” said Klopp. “It was best piece of football in the whole game.”
And Klopp claimed his job would have been made “massively” easier had penalty decisions gone in his side’s favour in recent weeks after conceding a stoppage time spot-kick to draw 2-2 with Tottenham last month.
“If the assistant against Tottenham didn’t see, which can happen, we win 2-1 against Tottenham, and today if he would see it then it’s a draw.
“We can count how many points that would be more and it would change my life massively.”
Rashford may not have even have started but for an injury to Paul Pogba suffered in training on Friday.
Without the £89 million ($123 million) French international, Mourinho moved Alexis Sanchez inside behind Lukaku and handed Rashford his first league start of the year on the left.
“He scored two goals in a big match against a top class opponent,” added Mourinho. “Of course he was fundamental.”
The Portuguese coach’s plans worked to perfection when Rashford brought the game.