Following on from great comebacks against Newcastle and Chelsea, Jose Mourinho’s were at it again on the south coast. Over-run by Bournemouth from the opening whistle, Mourinho admitted to Eddie Howe afterwards United should have been 5-1 down at interval.
Instead, they were level with Anthony Martial equalising against the run of play following Callum Wilson’s opener, and in the second period United were rampant long before substitute Marcus Rashford settled the game in injury-time.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
Bournemouth: Begovic 7; Smith 7, S Cook 6, Ake 6, Francis 7; Lerma 6, L Cook 7 (Gosling 68 6), Stanislas 7 (Surman 90), Brooks 7.5, Fraser 7 (Ibe 74 6) ; Wilson 7.
Subs not used: Boruc, Mousset, Daniels, Defoe.
Goals: Wilson 11.
Bookings: Lerma, Stanislas, Wilson.
Manager: Eddie Howe.
Manchester United: De Gea 7; Young 6.5, Smalling 6, Lindelof 5, Shaw 5; Fred 5.5 (Herrera 56 6) , Matic 5, Pogba 7; Mata 6 (Rashford 56 7) , Sanchez 8 (Lingard 78 6), Martial 7.
Subs not used: Jones, Romero, Darmian, McTominay.
Goals: Martial 35, Rashford 90+2.
Bookings: Shaw, Young, Rashford.
Manager: Jose Mourinho.
Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire).
We were a very lucky team in the first half. It should have been game over,’ admitted Mourinho. ‘Then in the second half, we were unlucky because we should have scored three or four goals. Traditionally, it’s called a game of two halves.
‘Any kind of defensive mistake seems to trigger defensive instability. It looks like we don’t work in the week on tactics which is the worst thing for me, because we do.
‘But the good thing is that this team has a face of fantastic character, and the result of games is never over.’
Victory hauls United level on points with their hosts, and while that is an absolute minimum requirement for a club of that size, they are picking up results despite some disastrous starts.
Mourinho started with a different centre-forward for the third game in a row. With Romelu Lukaku back in Manchester as an injury precaution for the Champions League and Rashford temporarily demoted, the recalled Alexis Sanchez started as a No9.
Bournemouth played with all the energy and effervescence Howe would have wanted. ‘One of the best 45 minutes since we came into the Premier League,’ he said afterwards.
The only downside was that Wilson’s seventh goal of the season was all they had to show for it, the striker sweeping a Junior Stanislas cross from six yards with the United defence Awol. David de Gea saved from Ryan Fraser and there were also misses by David Brooks and Stanislas.
United were a shambles but even in their worst times, they have enough individual quality to turn games.
This time it was Sanchez who stepped up to the plate. The Chilean won the ball on the halfway line and then sprinted into the penalty area to receive the return pass from Ashley Young.
Finding himself at an acute angle, Sanchez had the composure to pull the ball back for Martial, who timed his run into the penalty area to stroke past Asmir Begovic.
It was the Frenchman’s fifth Premier League goal in his last four matches, a remarkable run considering he previously hadn’t scored a league goal since January.
You could tell the leveller knocked the stuffing out of Bournemouth and lifted United. Even the noisy home crowd were quietened.
Rashford, who turned 21 on Wednesday, was introduced after 56 minutes alongside Ander Herrera, whose presence gave Young and Luke Shaw license to bomb forward, so much so that Mourinho referred to his right-back as Ashley Cole.
The chances began to mount. Asmir Begovic had to kick away a clearance as Martial attempted to lob him, and then saved smartly from Shaw.
In the same attack, Young hit the crossbar with a free-kick, Rashford was blocked by Nathan Ake on the rebound, and then Brooks cleared off the line from Paul Pogba with the second rebound.