Mourinho handed a lifeline as Sanchez seals a thrilling 3-2 comeback win for the Red Devils
José Mourinho might have just saved his Manchester United career with yesterday's exhilarating victory over fellow Premier League club Newcastle United.
All the spotlights were focused on Mourinho leading up to the fixture. The Portuguese maestro was enduring a torrid spell with the club, with only one home victory all season, and speculation arose that this encounter would determine his stay at the club.
Mourinho named a strong lineup, with Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling in the heart of the defense and the return of Ashley Young at right-back, but they immediately felt the overbearing pressure clouding over them in the first minutes of the match.
Chelsea loanee Kenedy broke through United's defense with ease before placing the ball in the back of the net to make it 1 - 0 for Newcastle just 7 minutes after the starting whistle blew. To make matters even worse for United, Japanese center-forward Yoshinori Muto decided to make it 2 - 0, scoring in his first ever start for his new club.
10 minutes into the game and the Red Devils were already 2 - 0 down. Tensions were high as Mourinho tried to get his players focused, CEO Ed Woodward watched with a blank expression on his face, and the United faithful were absolutely disgusted with the way their team was performing.
Mourinho, the tactician that he is, decided to sub off Eric Bailly in the 18th minute and pushed Scott McTominay back into defense, so that Mata would get more space to attack. United were now playing with a three-man defense and four attackers up front.
Luke Shaw pushed forward to provide support to Antony Martial, making the defense easily vulnerable to counter-attacks, but Newcastle failed to capitalize on their lead as United dominated possession.
Half-time approached and the scoreline remained 2 - 0. After giving his players the talk of his life, Mourinho brought on Fellaini for McTominay and eventually replaced Marcus Rashford with the under-performing Alexis Sánchez.
United looked more offensive and the pressure shifted onto Newcastle. Suddenly there were seven reds in the Newcastle box, forcing the entire Magpies attack to shift to defense. Mata's direct free kick in the 70th minute turned out to be the catalyst as the Red Devils immediately capitalised on the shift in momentum.
Anthony Martial scored the equalizer six minutes later and the entire Stretford end erupted with joy. Manchester United overturned a two-goal deficit, as Newcastle's defense crumbled under the pressure, as Alexis Sánchez scored the winner in injury time.
Initially frustrated with his players' performance, Mourinho walked off the field ecstatic as he recorded yet another enthralling comeback. Reports of his dismissal have calmed down in the last couple of hours as it has been revealed that the board will continue backing the Portuguese manager.
The pressure over Mourinho's managerial position has subsided for a while, with a lot of United fans having a different perspective after last night's victory. If there's any time to rebuild, now is the time.
Manchester United have a tough set of upcoming fixtures, playing against Chelsea, Juventus, and Everton in succession, but they'll go into those fixtures uplifted.