Mourinho praises solid performance against "sad" Sunderland

The 35-year-old Swede has been in fine form in his first year at Old Trafford, scoring his 28th goal in all competitions this season in Sunday's 3-0 away win over Sunderland in the Premier League.

It took a moment of inspiration from Ibrahimovic to put United ahead in the 30th minute, however, when he held off Billy Jones on the edge of the penalty area, made room for a shot and whipped a low strike into the far corner.

Evergreen Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic likened himself to film character Benjamin Button after inspiring his team to a 3-0 victory at Premier League basement club Sunderland yesterday.

Sunderland's hopes of getting something out of the game were dealt a major blow when, just before the break, Sebastian Larsson was sent off for going in over the top on Ander Herrera.

"We have to keep focused, keep working, keep believing that we can reach the top four".

Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, says that David De Gea did not play against Sunderland on Sunday, because of a "little problem".

"When you play against a team that is sad, if you score before, the game is nearly over because it is hard to react".

"The result was good", said United manager Jose Mourinho, whose side will return to sixth place if Arsenal win at Crystal Palace on Monday.

The Uruguayan arrived in Manchester from Independiente amid much hype and expectation, but ultimately failed to deliver during his time at Old Trafford, scoring just 17 goals in almost 100 games before leaving for Villarreal.

It comes after the Red Devils were able to recoup most of the £24m spent on Morgan Schneiderlin in January, while they will receive around £18m of the £25m spent to sign Memphis Depay.

"But the Europa League becomes fundamental for us, it's the only competition we can win now".

"Most of the players at Manchester United are young".

However, United's immediate attention will be on the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final against Belgian side Anderlecht on Thursday. I believe in what I do and I just play my game and try to enjoy it. Things today didn't go for us.

After struggling initially, Sunderland began to get a foothold in the game around the 20-minute mark, with Bryan Oviedo sending a free kick straight at Sergio Romero, and Lee Cattermole doing the same with a hit from open play a few minutes later.

The visitors doubled their lead three minutes later when Eden Hazard produced a sublime run before netting his 14th Premier League goal of the campaign - the Belgian's third in a week.

  • Julie Sanders