Manchester United 3-0 Stoke City: 5 Talking Points
- Manchester United dispatched Stoke City with brutal efficiency, and there was plenty to talk about as they set about doing their business
Score: Manchester United 3 - 0 Stoke City
Goalscorers: Antonio Valencia 9' (Paul Pogba assist), Anthony Martial 38' (Pogba assist), Romelu Lukaku 72' (Martial assist)
Manchester United closed the gap to Manchester City to 12 points, while drawing 3 clear of Liverpool and Chelsea behind them as they closed out a comfortable home win against Stoke City, who are still firmly rooted in the relegation zone.
Here, then, are the 5 key talking points from the rainy, rainy, night at Old Trafford:
#5 Time to stop questioning Jose Mourinho's man-management skills
Luke Shaw has come leaps and bounds from the inconsistent figure Mourinho first found at United. Anthony Martial is finally finding the strain of consistency that could help him mould his world-class potential into actual world-class performances. Jesse Lingard has... phew! Jesse Lingard has become one of the most exciting talents in the league.
All three players were criticised at one point or the other of the first season by Mourinho, and the Portuguese was in turn publicly lambasted for the way he handled them - the Special One's answered those critics in the best way possible.
Maybe, after nearly two decades in management, it's time to give the Devil the credit he is due? (Understanding the Devil inside Jose Mourinho)
Added bonus, the players he has always trusted are performing better than ever before: Antonio Valencia has scored 3 Premier League goals this season in 19 appearances. That's as many as his last 4 seasons (103 appearances) combined.
They missed the Ecuadorian in December, and the way he looked at Joe Allen after the Welshman flew into a tackle and bounced off him like a paper plane does off a rhinoceros, encapsulated the renewed solidity that United have down their captain's right flank.