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Players celebrate goal

Match report: United 2 Swansea City 0

Manchester United regained their second-place spot in the Premier League by setting up a comfortable Old Trafford win against Swansea City with an early double goal blast.

The Reds effectively ended the contest after 20 minutes, by which time Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez had scored twice. United had been demoted to third spot ahead of the match following Liverpool’s lunchtime victory at Crystal Palace but it didn’t last long.
 
There had been a strong and honest verbal response from manager Jose Mourinho following the Emirates FA Cup quarter-final tie at Old Trafford against Brighton. Mourinho would have been looking for a positive response to his criticism and he certainly got it.
 
Swansea have recovered their composure since the appointment of Carlos Carvalhal in late December to replace the axed Paul Clement. But they had no answer to United’s early blitz.
 
The Reds were on the front foot from the kick-off and were in the mood to answer some of the flak that has come our way since the Brighton win. The slickest move brought instant reward in the fifth minute. It was incisive and intricate and involved Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard and Alexis. The Chilean provided the assist as he squared to Lukaku. The Belgian is red hot in his debut United season and planted a shot, via a deflection off Alfie Mawson, home for his 26th goal of the season and 100th overall in the Premier League.

Watch: Mourinho's post-match MUTV interviewVideo

Alexis was back in Mourinho’s starting XI after being left on the bench for the FA Cup game against Brighton. The forward, bought from Arsenal in the transfer window, had confessed he’d been disappointed with the way he’d started his Old Trafford career. But, after providing the set-up for Lukaku’s goal he was on the scoresheet himself in the 20th minute.
 
Lingard, operating in the roving no.10 role, was again involved, this time piercing Swansea’s backline to free Alexis. The forward drilled in his goal with his right foot. It was his second goal of his United time adding to his last against Huddersfield in the league in early February.
 
Swansea were not offering up much as an attacking force leaving David De Gea as a spectator and United looking for a big scoreline. After tailing off in the first half the Reds were lively again in front of goal early in the second half.
 
Juan Mata was a key figure setting up a game of head tennis between scorers Lukaku and Alexis before the latter nodded over. Mata himself then spectacularly came close as a cross dropped over his shoulder and he volleyed into the Stretford End.
United were given a huge warning that they could face a comeback if we fell asleep when finally Swansea awakened. De Gea was called into action by Swans half-time substitute Tammy Abraham twice in a matter of seconds as the new introduction added a dangerous quality the visitors' attack.
 
The Spaniard added to his unbelievable catalogue of world-class saves by denying Abraham twice just before the hour. It left the striker beating the ground in total frustration joining a long list of opponents who’ve been left similarly dumbfounded.
 
Swansea’s threat virtually ended there and then and, with the danger over, Old Trafford was looking for a final flurry to add to the score. Lukaku almost added his second after he chested down a Pogba cross to control and shoot but his effort was blocked. The match ended in lacklustre style with United unable to add to their two goals in the first half.

Carrick with the coaches against Swansea article

The full story on Jose Mourinho's decision to sit Michael among his staff during the game at Old Trafford.

THE LINE-UPS
 
United: De Gea; Valencia (c), Lindelof, Smalling, Young; Matic, Pogba; Mata (McTominay 90), Lingard (Herrera 75), Alexis (Rashford 75); Lukaku  
Subs not used: J. Pereira, Bailly, Shaw, Martial 
 
Swansea City: Fabianski, Van Der Hoorn, Mawson, Fernandez (c), Olsson, Naughton, Clucas (Routledge 55), King, Ki (Carroll 45), Dyer (Abraham 45), A. Ayew. 
Subs not used:  Nordfelt, Narsingh, Bartley, Roberts.
TALKING POINTS
 
LINGARD’S PRIME POSITION IS NO.10: There are a number of candidates among Jose’s squad who can operate as the No.10 and Jesse once again gave a strong case as to why he should always be in the role. Fresh from scoring his first international goal against the Netherlands in Amsterdam, Lingard was the man who hurt Swansea most. The Welsh side were unable to close him down as he roved behind Romelu Lukaku.
 
DAVID DE GEA IS IMMENSE: There’s no real need to provide evidence that the Spaniard is the world’s best but just to add weight to that belief is the fact that there is no better measure of a goalkeeper than what he can produce when he’s been inactive for long spells. In De Gea’s case, he had a watching brief for almost an hour until Abraham threatened to drag Swansea back into the match. De Gea had a stunning answer to both goalbound shots early in the second half.
 
WHAT'S NEXT FOR UNITED? It’s the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium against Pep Guardiola’s Premier League title leaders City on Saturday April 7 (KO 17:30 BST).