Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has praised Henrikh Mkhitaryan after his goal against Sunderland on his return to full fitness.
The Red Devils continued their fine run of form as they ran out 3-1 winners against Sunderland at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. United dominated proceedings from the start and kept getting better as the game progressed.
The world’s most expensive footballer Paul Pogba was among the pick of things in the opening exchanges and had a number of chances to put the hosts ahead. However, the Sunderland defence kept the Frenchman at bay, but eventually succumbed in the 39th minute with Daley Blind finding the back of the net.
It was only the second goal the Dutchman had scored for United, but it was a priceless one as it certainly made Jose Mourinho’s half-time talk a whole lot easier.
In the second period, United kept mounting pressure on the hosts and created a number of chances. The Black Cats were not willing to give in as David Moyes’ men kept looking for a way back.
All hopes of a comeback were dashed when Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 50th professional goal of 2016 from an impeccable through ball by Pogba. A calm and composed finish by the Swede all but sealed the game for the hosts.
The Red Devils were not done as Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored a deftly executed goal from close range to make it 3-0 in favour of Mourinho’s men. An outrageous effort from the Armenian was undoubtedly the highlight of the evening.
It was all the more impressive, given the fact that it was his first game since an injury layoff. His movement was top drawer and he gave the United side that added thrust in the final third that saw them score two in quick succession.
Post the full-time whistle, Mkhitaryan earned deserved praise from his manager. According to the club’s official website, Mourinho said, “He has scored beautiful goals all his career. In this moment, [there are the] goals but also the defensive work and also creativity. And I’m so happy he came back after this injury and came back with his happiness and the feeling that the people at Old Trafford love him. That’s a very important thing for him.”
With this victory, United won four games on the spin for the first time in the league this season. They have shown consistent progress throughout these matches and Mourinho can finally breathe a sigh of relief after a tricky few months at the helm.