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Jose Mourinho was delighted with his team’s display at Manchester United as the Red Devils ran out 2-1 winners over Liverpool.
Manchester United have now opened up a five-point buffer to Liverpool in the race for second place as Marcus Rashford delivered the goods at Old Trafford.
Rashford raced on to Lukaku’s flick on before twisting and turning past Trent Alexander-Arnold and firing past Loris Karius just before the quarter of an hour mark.
With England boss Gareth Southgate watching on, Rashford had his second goal 10 minutes later when he curled the ball beyond the German shot-stopper after Juan Mata’s initial effort was blocked.
Liverpool were handed a lifeline through Eric Bailly’s own goal after the defender’s attempt to clear Sadio Mane’s cross flew past David De Gea but Rashford’s goals made the headlines.
“He [Rashford] scored two goals in a big match against a top class opponent,” Mourinho said.
“So of course he was fundamental and the good thing was the first chance he had he got it, he scored, because I think the last few months that was not happening with him and he was feeling that a little bit in terms of self-confidence.
“But today, big game, probably unexpected, we trusted him, we felt the game could be adapted to his qualities.
“He’s improving a lot in training and sometimes that’s the point, media, fans, in relation to options, you are not at the training ground, you don’t see what is going on.
“You don’t see how well or bad players are training, the self-confidence, the mood, the feeling and the feeling with him was that he was really improving a lot in the past few weeks.”
Romelu Lukaku also enjoyed himself against Liverpool and put in an impressive showing against the Reds, playing an important role in both of Rashford’s goals.
Mourinho was complimentary of the forward, while fellow Belgian Marouane Fellaini also received high praise following his swift return from injury.
“Every press conference you come with Lukaku and I say the same,” Mourinho added.
“I don’t care about the goals, his performance was fantastic and he didn’t score. That’s fundamental and in the last part of the game with a few corners in extra time Lukaku was there and dominant.
“I want to praise obviously every player but I go to Marouane, because knee surgery returned before time, he did a fantastic work to recover outside the club with people of his trust, he arrived to train a couple of days ago and made himself available to play. Before the game I asked him how many minutes do you have for me? He told me the minutes he wanted.”
Bailly was the last player Mourinho gave a special mention to in his post-mach interviews, seeing the funny side of his comical own goal.
“I don’t know but fantastic performance, amazing goal,” Mourinho laughed. “And great spirit to cope with the goal and the injury, so that’s the Eric we love.”