Juan Mata, Diogo Dalot earn 8/10 marks in Man United's commanding win over Fulham
MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester United cruised to a 4-1 Premier League win over Fulham at Old Trafford to end a run of four games without a victory.
After a season of struggle, it was a rare comfortable afternoon for Jose Mourinho's side, who had four different scorers in Ashley Young, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku. United's biggest Premier League win in more than a year will ease the pressure on Mourinho ahead of a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on Sunday.
Diogo Dalot looks the part. Tall and stocky, he doesn't look like he is 19, and he doesn't play like a teenager, either. On just his second Premier League start he was confident enough to race forward whenever he got a chance. His final ball could be better, but that will come with experience. Mourinho's claim that United have found their right-back for the next 10 years might prove to be right.
United were slick and clinical in the first half, and the game was over by half-time, but they struggled to maintain the same levels after the break, and 45 minutes that should have been about how many United would get turned into a battle. Referee Lee Probert might regret his decision to award a penalty against Ander Herrera, but it was yet another game without a clean sheet. United have only got one in the league at Old Trafford this season.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- The United manager left Paul Pogba out of his team for the second game in a row, and again it looked like the right decision. With the Frenchman watching from the bench, United were 3-0 up by half-time to make sure the game was dead and buried before Fulham even had a sniff. With the game wrapped up in the second half, it was telling that Mourinho chose to bring on Scott McTominay for the final five minutes instead of Pogba.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK David De Gea, 6 -- With United 3-0 up at half-time, the Spaniard will have been hoping for a clean sheet, and he looked disgusted when Aboubakar Kamara converted Fulham's penalty.
DF Diogo Dalot, 8 -- Needs time to work on his end product, but full marks for attacking intent. Only 19 and at the club a matter of months, but already United's best right-back.
DF Ashley Young, 7 -- Back in the team after suspension, eased any nervousness around the stadium with a nutmeg on Denis Odoi and a fantastic finish into the top corner to give United the lead.
DF Phil Jones, 7 -- Stood up well to the physical challenge provided by a battering-ram centre-forward in Aleksandar Mitrovic. He did well enough that Claudio Ranieri was forced to replace the Serbian at half-time.
DF Chris Smalling, 7 -- Made a couple of mistakes when he was on the ball, but can't be faulted for playing through the pain. Gave Mourinho nearly 60 minutes despite nursing a foot injury and went straight down the tunnel when he went off.
MF Nemanja Matic, 7 -- Fulham never posed more than a passing threat to United's back four, but Matic protected well and was careful on the ball. A step in the right direction after recent struggles.
MF Ander Herrera, 7 -- Mourinho says he wants mad dogs, and Herrera is certainly one of those. Passing is not always as accurate as it could be, but he presses and bites into challenges. Decision to award a penalty for his challenge was harsh.
MF Jesse Lingard, 7 -- Again deployed in the hole behind the central striker, it was his pinpoint pass through Fulham's defence that allowed Mata to set up Lukaku for United's third.
FW Juan Mata, 8 -- Brought back into the team on the right of Mourinho's front three, the Spaniard got the crucial second goal with a measured finish into the bottom corner after a clever run inside.
FW Marcus Rashford 8 -- Often gets criticised for his decision-making, but added to his two assists against Southampton with another here after setting up Mata and scored a late goal with a thumping finish to catch out Sergio Rico at his near post.
FW Romelu Lukaku, 7 -- The Belgian scored his first goal at Old Trafford for 252 days with a close-range tap-in just before half-time. He's now got two in two starts after finding the net at Southampton.
DF Marcos Rojo, 7 -- One strong challenge brought applause from Mourinho.
MF Fred, N/R -- Positive cameo.
MF Scott McTominay, N/R -- Brought on instead of Pogba.