Manchester United bounced back from Wednesday’s loss to Tottenham Hotspur with a 2-0 victory at home to Huddersfield Town, cutting the lead with Manchester City to 13 points.
Romelu Lukaku opened up the scoring in the 55th minute, before Alexis Sanchez scored his first ever United goal in the 68th minute from a rebound after Jonas Lossl initially saved his penalty.
Speaking after the game, Jose Mourinho talked about his content with Sanchez’s home debut but criticized the atmosphere at Old Trafford and claimed the noise at Portsmouth’s Fratton Park is better.
“He played only three (matches) and the first at Old Trafford, and I think Old Trafford, in spite of being a quiet stadium, the pitch is big, the grass is nice and obviously the players feel very comfortable playing here,” Mourinho said in his post match press conference.
“It’s not Portsmouth. I remember Portsmouth – such a small stadium, the atmosphere was absolutely incredible. In here, the atmosphere is a bit quiet and there is not very (much enthusiasm). But the players like to play at home.”
He also talked about the title race after City dropped points earlier in the day, and is pessimistic about Pep Guardiola’s side dropping more points from now to the end of the season.
“It depends on [City]. It doesn’t depend so much on us. I think they’ve lost maybe nine or 10 points this season, and it’s hard to believe they will lose that again between now and the end of the season. But as I was saying, we improve in everything from last season.
“More wins, more goals, less goals conceded, more points, better position in the table. If we manage to keep doing this between now and the end of the season it is good for us, because it is an evolution and next season will probably be even better.”
United’s record signing Paul Pogba was surprisingly dropped from the starting eleven, and only came on at 65th minute for Jesse Lingard.
Pogba was also withdrawn on Wednesday at 63rd minute after failing to impress on the pitch and getting into a heated exchange with Mourinho.
Mourinho, though, played down Pogba’s exclusion when asked about it.
“I changed a few players and the intention was not to punish anyone,” the manager said.
“I made a few changes thinking about the characteristics of this game.
“Paul is a fantastic player – no doubt for me one of the most talented midfield players in the world. But to sit on the bench one day is not the end of the world.”
United travel to Newcastle next Sunday to take on the struggling Newcastle United, who are currently 16th on the table with just 24 points.
United in Advanced Talks for Dutch Talent
According to Bleacher Report, Manchester United are currently in advanced stages to sign Ajax’s young forward Justin Kluivert.
Kluivert is the son of the legendary Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert, who played for Barcelona, AC Milan, Valencia, and Ajax.
Born in 1999, he came up through the youth ranks of Ajax and made his debut for the club last season.
So far, Kluivert has appeared in 41 games for the Dutch club, scoring eight goals in the process and assisting seven times.
He was a key player in Ajax advancing to the final of Europa League last season, although he didn’t appear in the final as they lost 2-0 to United.
The report states United and Ajax are currently in negotiations to close the deal for £10 million wit add ons.
According to John Richardson of the Sunday Mirror, Mourinho is a big fan of the 18-year-old, after witnessing his abilities in last season’s Europa League matches.
“Mourinho has known the teenager since he was a little boy, when he would come to Barcelona with his dad, Dutch star Patrick,” Richardson said. “In those days Mourinho was a coach at the Nou Camp and has taken a special interest in Kluivert junior’s development.”
Kluivert can play as both a striker or a winger, although he is more comfortable in a latter role.
United are also reportedly on the lookout for a new striker, and have entered the race for Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi alongside Real Madrid.
Icardi has scored 18 league goals in 22 games for Inter this season, and is the second top scorer in Serie A just behind Lazio’s Ciro Immobile.
At just 24 years old, Icardi is already considered as a veteran at Inter and currently captains the side.
Madrid have been targeting the Argentine for a while now, with Los Blancos hoping he can be a replacement for the out of form Karim Benzema, who has just score twice in La Liga this season.
It is understood that United and Mourinho aren’t completely satisfied with Lukaku this season, and want to bring in another striker to challenge the Belgian.
There is a release clause in Icardi’s contract, believed to be €110 million, but it is only valid for a brief summer window.
The club’s interest in the Argentine however, could end Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s stay at Old Trafford.
Ibrahimovic signed a contact extension last summer to stay at the club throughout the 2017/18 season, but only has appeared in seven games across all competitions so far due to injuries.
He scored just once once, which came during an EFL Cup loss to the English second-tier side Bristol City.
It has been reported that the Swede has already struck a deal with Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, and could end up leaving within this month.