Sport

Lukaku double relieves pressure on Mourinho

Monday, September 03, 2018

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BURNLEY, United Kingdom (AFP) — Two goals from Romelu Lukaku brought Jose Mourinho a much-needed 2-0 win at Burnley on yesterday, although it was another eventful and controversial afternoon for his Manchester United side.

England international Marcus Rashford, only on the field for 10 minutes as a substitute, was sent off after 70 minutes for a headbutt on Phil Bardsley, who had clipped the United man's ankles in cynical fashion.

Just two minutes earlier, Mourinho had also seen Paul Pogba miss a penalty, with the chance to put the visitors out of sight.

But Lukaku's first-half double was enough for a well-earned three points, as United bounced back from consecutive defeats to Brighton and Tottenham that had put Mourinho under the spotlight.

Lukaku opened the scoring on 26 minutes, after a period of bright and direct football from Mourinho's team.

Alexis Sanchez was recalled to Mourinho's starting line-up and responded by setting up the opener, as Lukaku rose impressively between two defenders to head the Chilean's cross past Joe Hart.

A second goal before the break looked inevitable, although it took until the final minute for it to arrive as Luke Shaw chased onto Sanchez's back heel and into the Burnley area.

The ball eventually landed with Jesse Lingard on the edge of the area and, after his shot took deflections off both Charlie Taylor and Ashley Westwood, Lukaku was well-positioned to turn and sweep in from six yards.

It was a rewarding first period for Mourinho and his team, not to mention the 2,400 visiting supporters at Turf Moor who showed their backing for Mourinho.

In contrast, there was a demonstration by fans against the club's Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward with a plane flown over the Lancashire ground towing a banner that read: “Ed Woodward, a specialist in failure”.

It was a poignant comment from supporters who clearly blame Woodward's lack of action in the transfer market for the club's poor start to the season — rather than their high-profile manager.

That lacklustre opening to the campaign saw United in danger of losing three of their first four league games for the first time since 1986.

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