“That is the Manchester United that we want to see”

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Is Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho making a point without star midfielder Paul Pogba?

United won 4-1 over Fulham at Old Trafford on Saturday, building a 3-0 first half lead through Juan Mata, Ashley Young, and Romelu Lukaku goals.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 4-1 Fulham ]

Mourinho’s quotes on team attitude for a second-straight match will be read with a critical eye given Pogba’s status as an unused sub, a few days after being used off the bench.

“The players have shown they can be a better team than they are. When there is solidarity in the team, everyone giving their maximum, you attract more positive things.”

Mata, who scored his 50th Premier League goal, was glowing after the Red Devils’ performance.

“It was the start that we needed. We know that we have to start better because it is not right to always be chasing the game. We need these performances more often. The fans today enjoyed it: That is the Manchester United that we want to see.”

United is off to Valencia at midweek but has already qualified for the Champions League knockout rounds and seems likely to focus its attention on Sunday’s visit to Liverpool.

Manchester United breaks out versus Fulham

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  • Young scores beauty [ VIDEO ]
  • Mata, Lukaku make it 3-0 at half
  • Pogba an unused sub
  • United moves sixth

Manchester United, and Old Trafford specifically, needed this.

Four different Red Devils hit the score sheet as Manchester United beat Fulham 4-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata, Romelu Lukaku, and Ashley Young all scored for United, who moves sixth with 26 points.

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa was sent off for Fulham, while Aboubakar Kamara won and scored a penalty for the Cottagers.

Fulham remains 20th with nine points and now has a league-worst minus-24 goal differential.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

The goal scoring started with a beauty, as left back Ashley Young nutmegged a defender and cut into the 18 to belt a shot into the far post (See top of post for video).

It was 2-0 through Mata, the Spaniard running to the top of the 18 to meet a Marcus Rashford cutback before Lukaku got into the act off a Mata assist. 3-0 at the break.

Fulham got on the board in the second half, when Ander Herrera fouled Aboubakar Kamara in the box.

Kamara converted his chance to make it 3-1, but Anguissa saw red within minutes to dent any new hopes for the Cottagers.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Manchester United’s flailing attack fails vs. Palace

Martin Rickett/PA via AP
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  • Palace outshoots United 13-12
  • Van Aanholt wasteful for Eagles
  • United fails to rebound from derby loss

It was a day for the goalkeepers at Old Trafford, where Jose Mourinho’s idealess Manchester United drew Crystal Palace 0-0 on Saturday.

Wayne Hennessey and David De Gea both made fine saves, but Palace will be much happier as it ends a daunting schedule run with a point.

United will finish the weekend at least six points back of the Top Four, while Palace moves 15th with nine points.

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Crystal Palace was very physical with United, scooping up a pair of yellow cards while working over Jesse Lingard and crew.

Mamadou Sakho and Luka Milivojevic both were cautioned, but Patrick Van Aanholt sent a warning to the hosts when he flubbed a Wilfried Zaha feed and sent his chance shy of the goal.

Cheikhou Kouyate was just offside before the break when he nodded a Milivojevic free kick past David De Gea.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Romelu Lukaku was just as offside — meaning only a shoulder — when he pushed a rebound over the line in the 57th.

De Gea made a double save on Van Aanholt in the 63rd minute, as Palace looked the better bet to break through for an opener.

United looked to have its table set when Marcus Rashford won consecutive sliding challenges to cue up Alexis Sanchez in space, but the Chilean made a poor decision and worse pass to flub it.

At the other end, Townsend became the second player to let United off the hook with a wild effort after cutting Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof in two.

To be fair to United, it was up against an in-form keeper in Wayne Hennessey. The veteran Welsh keeper made a late stop on Lukaku to keep it 0-0.

Premier League Preview: Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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  • Man Utd 10W-1D in last 11 vs. Palace
  • Palace’s last win at Old Trafford came in 2011 League Cup
  • Man Utd leads all-time 36W-10D-7L

Will Manchester United’s young players respond to the latest hail of public criticism from boss Jose Mourinho when the Red Devils host Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold, online via NBCSports.com)?

The United manager used part of his prematch press conference to question the character of and rip into the “spoilt” nature of young players like Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, and Marcus Rashford.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

United lost its last match before the break, a two-goal defeat in the Manchester Derby no less, and will be itching to get back in the win column after slipping seven points back of the Top Four.

Palace has earned just one point from the last 18 available, though plenty of that is aided by a fixture list which sees United at the end of Arsenal, Chelsea, and Spurs.

What they’re saying

Manchester United’s Juan Mata on Palace“When they play away also because they defend quite compact and they go for the counter-attack, so we need to be ready for that and we need to know what we’re going to face. We need to try to score, try to win and try to enjoy it. Obviously, we’re always respecting the opponent, and Crystal Palace deserves that respect.”

Crystal Palace’s Roy Hodgson on Wilfried Zaha“I think that his attitude to each and every game, be it a home game here at Selhurst Park against a team lower in the league or whether it’s a top match against the Manchester Uniteds, Cities and Liverpools is that he goes out each time to give a performance, to go and do what he knows he’s good at doing. We try to profit from that as best we can by getting the ball to him and hoping he can weave that magic which he’s capable of and win us the matches. I believe in his abilities.”

Prediction

Who knows what Mourinho is doing with his comments, but United is facing a wounded Palace? The Eagles would be forgiven for looking ahead to Burnley and Brighton, but might Zaha have enough magic to get them a result at Old Trafford? We’ll hand a 3-1 to United.

Sterling’s show-off moment enrages Guardiola

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Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata didn’t like Raheem Sterling‘s showing off late in the Red Devils’ loss to Man City in Sunday’s Manchester Derby at the Etihad Stadium.

His manager Pep Guardiola liked it even less.

[ MORE: Match recap ]

Sterling had a wonderful day in City’s 3-1 win and was fresh off signing a new contract with the reigning Premier League champions.

But that was all for nought by the time Guardiola met Sterling on the field after the final whistle.

“I don’t like it when you make some movements with the hands. They know how to play simple and they did it but at the end he made the move with the legs and I didn’t like it so much. But again he’s young and I’m pretty sure it’s not going to happen again.”

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