Manchester United cruised to a 3-1 win over Swansea on Sunday to end a poor week on a high. A brace from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a screamer from Paul Pogba was enough for the visitors to get their first win since September 24th.
Jose Mourinho made numerous changes to starting eleven from the defeat against Fenerbahce. The Portuguese surprised everyone with his selection of the players in the defence for this game. United delivered and the team selection was surely not questioned, but here are other lessons learnt from the game.
Carrick needs to play more often
Michael Carrick started a Premier League game for the first time this season. The Englishman has played in Cup ties and Europa games under Mourinho. He replaced the suspended Ander Herrera in the midfield and showed why he is important for United even at this age.The opposition was poor but Carrick still controlled the midfield perfectly.
He provided the shielding that the back four needed in this game. Moreover his calm presence helps in getting best of Pogba. The Frenchman delivered a complete performance at the left hand side of the three man midfield. Mourinho admitted that Carrick cannot play two-three games continuously due to his age last month. However the English midfield needs to play frequently in the League as United look much better when he is on the pitch.
Mourinho not messing around with mentality issues
The United boss blasted his team after their loss in Turkey for being mentally weak. He was not holding back in his post match conference after the Swansea game. Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling pulled out of this game for not being 100 per cent fit. Mourinho was furious with the duo and admitted that the players needs to change their mindset.
United players were known for their aggressive and winning mentality. In past three years as the things have gone bad on the pitch this mentality has also taken a hit. Mourinho surely showing the signs that he is ready to change and not going to tolerate the players who don’t give their best despite having huge amount of talent.
Rooney showing the grit to win his place back in starting eleven
Wayne Rooney started a first Premier League game since his demotion to the bench after a defeat to Watford in September. The club Captain has led the line in the League Cup and Europa League. He has been in decent in this games but still not strong enough to claim a place in the starting eleven. Rooney scored his second goal of the season against Fenerbahce on Thursday.
The forward started poorly against Swansea as his poor pass could have put United in a state of bother in first few minutes. He grew into the game and played well on the left flank. Rooney provided assists for Ibrahimovic’s two goals. He looked sharp and working hard to get his place back in the team. If Rooney gains some consistency then he can surely replace the underperfoming players in first eleven.
Last chance for Jones at United
Mourinho admitted in pre match conference against Fenerbahce that he doesn’t remember when Phil Jones got a good run of games for United. The English defender started this season with an injury the way he spent the entire last season. He was back in training two weeks ago and got his first Premier League start in 10 months against Swansea.
Jones has the qualities to be a very good centerback but fails to remain fit. He had a decent game against Swansea as their strikers hardly tested United defence. Mourinho is know for getting best out of defenders throughout his career. This if probably the last chance for Jones to save his career at United as he has got the right coach to get best out of him.
Suspension at the wrong time for Ibrahimovic
The only let down from yesterday’s game was that Ibrahimovic got a booking in second half. This will lead to a one game suspension due to accumulation of five yellow cards for him in the league till now. The forward scored for first time in the league after going on a run of 6 goalless games. He will miss the game against Arsenal after the international break.
This suspension is probably at a wrong time for United and Ibrahimovic. The Swedish striker has been struggling to find the net, but his overall gameplay has been decent as he has created chances for the team. The two goals against Swansea will give him more confidence to do well in the upcoming games. United lack leaders and in big game against Arsenal they will miss a big personality like Ibrahimovic.