Manchester United 3-2 Newcastle United: 4 men who saved Mourinho’s job
Manchester United welcomed Newcastle to Old Trafford amid rumours of Jose Mourinho being on the verge of getting the boot. A defeat now would certainly increase further pressure on the Portuguese manager. As such, the tension was building before the game at Old Trafford.
Mourinho started with what was pretty much his strongest side, barring perhaps Alexis Sanchez, but given the form that he has been in of late, it could be argued that he isn't part of his best side right now. However, he was dealt with a blow within the first ten minutes of the game.
Kenedy took advantage of some poor defending from United to score the opener in the 7th minute. Yoshinori Muto then doubled the lead in the 10th minute. Manchester United were stunned and Mourinho responded by bringing on Juan Mata for Eric Bailly and switching Scott McTominay to the centre back position.
The first half ended with United trailing 2-0, and it remained so until the 70th minute, before United banged in three goals in 20 minutes to come back to win the game 3-2. It was a second half performance deserving of the victory and there were four players who were instrumental in United securing the win.
These four men initiated the comeback, inspired their team, got the three points and ultimately saved their manager’s job. Read on to identify the four men who saved Mourinho’s job.
#4 Juan Mata
Mourinho started with the Spaniard on the bench, but realized the need for Juan Mata after United were 2-0 down. United were low on creativity and flair on the ball and Mourinho turned to his diminutive Spaniard to take control. He took off Bailly and brought on Mata, with McTominay dropping into the back four. However, the Spaniard did not have much of an impact in the first half.
After the break, Mata started to find his feet in the game. He first set up Rashford in the 50th minute, but the English striker was having a night to forget and wasted time on the ball only for Fernandez to the ball take away from him. Mata then hit one himself, but his volley from 20 yards out was wide of the post. It seemed that the Spaniard would not have any impact on the game, but all of that was about to change.
In the 70th minute, United won a free kick just outside the box and Mata sent an exquisite left footed free kick over the wall and into the net. It changed the mood of the game, it changed the atmosphere in the stadium and it gave United that extra edge, that bite in their attack, that belief in their veins. Juan Mata initiated the Manchester United comeback and might have just saved his manager’s job