Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho promises to fight for top four finish

Midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan and substitute Marcus Rashford scored the other goals as United boosted their Champions League prospects and nudged 10-man Sunderland closer to relegation.

Ibrahimovic, 35, opened the scoring in the 30th minute of Sunday's game at the Stadium of Light, rolling Billy Jones and crashing a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Romero made a fine block to prevent Victor Anichebe equalising but matters went from bad to worse for Sunderland two minutes before the interval, with Larsson shown a straight red card for a lunging challenge that caught Ander Herrera on the shin.

Since joining United, Ibrahimovic has scored 17 league goals, with that tally also the Red Devils' best since the 2013-14 season.

After the resounding victory over dead last Sunderland, Mourinho said the win keeps their hopes alive for a top four finish.

Vidic, who spent eight seasons at Old Trafford, has watched on as Mourinho has gotten to grips with arguably the biggest managerial post in England - a maiden campaign which now sees the Red Devils lying fifth in the Premier League with 10 matches still to play.

United, moved ahead of Arsenal and is four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City with one game in hand over its neighbours.

Today, prior to the 3-0 win over Sunderland, Mourinho admitted the club is not close to where it needs to be and that reinforcements are needed.

"I told them in the second half we had to go to kill the game". I believe in what I do and I just play my game and try to enjoy it.

"I feel like Benjamin Button - I was born old and I will die young".

On Saturday night, Chelsea had the look of champions again as they maintained their comfortable seven-point advantage at the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 victory at Bournemouth - but Tottenham Hotspur will not give up the chase.

United, who are in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, were without first-choice goalkeeper David de Gea but his deputy Sergio Romero had an easy afternoon in the Sunderland sunshine.

It was therefore a surprise to see Shaw's name in United's starting XI for the match against Sunderland, and even more of a surprise to hear Mourinho praising the defender after the game, especially considering he replaced Shaw with Daley Blind mid-way through the second-half.

"We reacted to the results of yesterday", Mourinho said. We know we go to Brussels for the Europa League and it is more hard for us but we keep fighting. Unable to cover the same ground as he did five years ago, Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he has become a more intelligent footballer as he gets older.

  • Julie Sanders