’Perfect’ Pogba pass helps United secure vital win
MANCHESTER United strengthened their hold on second place in the English Premier League with a 2-0 win at Bournemouth on Wednesday.
Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku scored as United bounced back from a 1-0 loss to last-placed West Bromwich Albion at the weekend that gave Manchester City the title.
The win lifts them four points clear of third-placed Liverpool with four games remaining.
United manager Jose Mourinho demanded a response from his team following the West Brom game and got it.
"It was a good professional performance with good effort and responsibility," Mourinho, who made seven changes, told BT Sport.
"There was desire to score and a desire to cope with the defensive responsibilities against a fast team. Everything was good, I am happy." United struck first in the 28th minute when Jesse Lingard sent a ball across goal which Smalling easily tapped home.
Lukaku replaced Lingard just after the hour mark and teamed up with Paul Pogba to wrap up the victory.
Pogba made a run into the Bournemouth end and laid off a pass which Lukaku fired home for his 27th goal in all competitions this season.
"At half-time the manager told Paul to keep making those runs," Lukaku said. "He did and played a perfect pass which I was able to finish off." Bournemouth, who have won just one of their last nine games, remain in 11th place.
The result left United, who suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat by bottom team West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, second on 74 points from 34 games, 13 behind champions Manchester City and four ahead of third-placed Liverpool. Smalling fired the visitors ahead with a close-range finish in the 28th minute and Lukaku sealed the win with a superb strike in the 70th, burying his shot over advancing keeper Asmir Begovic after he was put through by Paul Pogba.