Sunderland 0-3 Manchester United: Mourinho's men stroll to victory to leave 10-man Black Cats closer to relegation

Manchester United gained a vital three points in their fight for a top four race in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon after they defeated a struggling Sunderland side 3-0 at the Stadium of Light.

In a game that had very little goal mouth action early on, Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring with a fantastic finish from the edge of the box to score his 28th goal for United this season.

Just before half-time the game really ended as a contest when Sebastian Larsson received a straight red card from Craig Pawson after a late tackle on Ander Herrera.

Then in the second half United were in total control and doubled their lead through Henrikh Mkhitaryan and then Marcus Rashford added a third before the end of the game.

Interesting team news before the game

The team sheet before the game revealed that both managers made changes to their teams with Jose Mourinho making the most with five changes to his United side for the game.

Mourinho brought in Sergio Romero, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba and Mkhitaryan for David de Gea, Ashley Young, Daley Blind, Michael Carrick and Rashford.

David Moyes made one change to his struggling team with Victor Anichebe coming into the team to replace Fabio Borini.

Visitors started strong but lacked the killer instinct early on

In terms of the game itself, the visitors started well with Jesse Lingard forcing an early save out of the impressive Jordan Pickford.

After a good early spell from the visitors though the home side came more into the game with Lee Cattermole forcing a save from Romero from outside the box.

Ibrahimovic netted a wonderful goal on the half-hour mark

This gave the Black Cats some confidence but out of nothing, on the half-hour mark, Ibrahimovic opened the scoring with a real moment of brilliance.

Herrera played the ball to the big striker on the edge of the box and he unleashed a fantastic curling shot into the back of the net giving Pickford no chance at all.

It should have been two soon after when Shaw got to the byline and produced a great cross into the box to Marouane Fellaini but the midfielder couldn't turn the ball into the net.

This miss almost proved crucial when the hosts created their best moment of the first half when Anichebe was found from a good cross into the box but he was denied by a brilliant save from Romero.

Black Cats reduced to ten men before half-time

This gave the home crowd some hope that they could get back into the game but out of nothing the home side were reduced to ten men when referee Pawson sent Larsson off for a late tackle on Herrera just before the break.

Therefore at the half-time whistle, Moyes was left with a big job to do to rally his players to try and get back into the match in the second half while Mourinho would have been hoping his side could go on and kill the game off.

Mkhitaryan netted a second for United just after half-time

Straight away from kick-off at the start of the second half, United doubled their lead without any Sunderland player touching the ball.

The goal was scored by Mkhitaryan, who received the ball just inside the box from a good pass from Shaw, and he placed a nice left footed finish into the bottom corner of the net to end the game as a contest early in the second half.

It should have been three after the hour mark when once again a good passage of play from the visitors ended with Pogba volleying the ball over the bar when he should have been scoring.

United then all off a sudden took their foot of the pedal and this allowed the hosts to have more of the ball but with ten men they just couldn't create anything of note to really get back into the game.

Rashford netted his first goal for United since Septemeber

As Moyes told his side to keep going forward to try and at least score a goal in the game, this allowed United to get a third goal just before the end of the game when Rashford, on as a second half substitute, received the ball from Ibrahimovic in the box and scored his first goal for the club since September.

In injury time it was almost four for United when Anthony Martial, on as a second half substitute, played a great ball into the box to Ibrahimovic but the striker was denied a second goal by Pickford.

It didn't matter though as the game finally came to end with Sunderland yet again falling to defeat which really now means they will need a miracle to survive relegation from the Premier League this season.

On the other hand, United gained a very important three points as they try their very best to gain a top four place at the end of the season.