Full time : Southampton 0-1 Manchester United
Goal Scorer: Lukaku (20′)
Venue : St. Mary’s Stadium
Date : September 23, 2017
Southampton : Forster (GK), Soares, Yoshida, Hoedt, Bertrand, Romeu, Lemina, Tadic, Davis, Redmond, Long.
Subs : Austin, McCarthy, Ward-Prowse, Van Dijk, Gabbiadini, Hojbjerg, Pied.
Manchester United : De Gea (GK), A. Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Young, Fellaini, Matic, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford, R. Lukaku.
Subs : Martial, Smalling, Lingard, Carrick, Blind, Romero, Herrera
Match Report :
Romelu Lukaku has scored six goals in his six Premier League games, enjoying a fine start to his Manchester United career. Lukaku broke the deadlock on 20 minutes, from Ashley Young’s cross, converting a rebound after Saints keeper Fraser Forster saved his initial effort. Manchester United maintain the unbeaten start to their league season behind leaders Manchester City on goal difference. In the closing stages of the game at St. Mary’s, Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands after bizarrely grabbing the fourth official, Mike Jones, on the touchline.
When asked about the incident after the match, Mourinho replied: ” I don’t know. You have to ask the referee. ”
It was a largely unconvincing performance from the visitors, who made the most of their one clear-cut opportunity in a comfortable first half and spent the majority of the second on the back foot. Mourinho’s side could create little otherwise in a disjointed display by their standards.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s side who have failed to score in nine of their last 11 home league games enjoyed 70 percent of the possession in the second half but struggled to find a way through United’s defense.
Manchester United with five wins in six premier league games, move on to 16 points, the same as the league leaders Manchester City,but Mourinho will no doubt want improvement from his side when they travel to Russia to take on CSKA Moscow in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Mourinho’s side had it easy in the first half, but after the break their lead came under siege as Southampton fans were treated to attacking intent that has become all too rare at St. Mary’s. However, their promising second half display ended in frustration for the home side as United managed to hold on.
Nathan Redmond came close with a wayward shot on goal, was the best that Southampton could manage in the first half. Saints returned from the break with renewed impetus and Oriol Romeu directed just wide after a corner fell to him in the box just six minutes after restart. The ever reliable David De Gea denied Redmond at his near post as the home side continued brightly, with Shane Long seeing penalty claims against Phil Jones rejected. Marouane Fellaini cleared a dangerous Romeu header before Redmond attempted a low drive. Romeu dragged a shot across the face of goal from an acute angle 12 minutes from time swiftly followed by substitute Ander Herrera wasting a glorious chance at the other end.
Southampton pushed for an equaliser and in the stoppage time play was broken up as referee Pawson sent Mourinho to the stands – a decision that bemused the United boss, who shook hands with Pellegrino and some on the Saints bench before departing.
What the Managers said:
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino: ” You have to score goals. We did well, we played a good game and it is difficult to control this team, but we have to learn and be more aggressive. We gave everything but one action changed the game. It is the most difficult thing in modern football to score. I think we controlled the game but we allowed them to play in counter-attack and that is something they are really good. They were under pressure all the time.”
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho: ” It is not always possible for high quality, but we fought hard. We did for 25 minutes what many teams do for 90 minutes – to have five at the back and defend. We had two chances to kill the game, which is what we felt we could do, but credit to them, they tried to play, they sent on a second striker to play more direct but we fought really hard and I am happy. The majority of our players did not play in the midweek match. Maybe it was the heat because we don’t see the sun in Manchester often. I felt the boys were not sharp, so the option was to go for the points.”