Next stop Stockholm as youthful Man United ease past Crystal Palace

by Leon Thompson May 22, 2017, 15:25
Next stop Stockholm as youthful Man United ease past Crystal Palace

Under Mourinho, United have signed the world's most expensive player, signed the Bundesliga player of the season, gone 25 games unbeaten, and still managed to finish lower than Van Gaal did previous year.

I mention it because there was an unquestionable reminiscence of the Brazilian in the way Mitchell went about his game: he has that crucial Jack Russell element to his defensive approach - a constantly niggling presence, always racing across the turf and trying to create width whenever he could.

Jose Mourinho promised to play the kids at Old Trafford this afternoon, and that's precisely what he has done.

United's performance belied the starting line-up's tender average age of 22 years 284 days, with Harrop marking his first appearance with a superb effort that kicked off a surprisingly comfortable 2-0 win against Palace.

"I have seen in the football media that certain pundits can not understand why our players are exhausted", wrote Mourinho.

"I can say that of course there is only one choice and that is to win, we are not going to the final to lose". Mourinho's response was curt: "A pundit is not honest if they can not forget their colours". With the Europa League final against Ajax in mind, Mourinho gave unlikely starts to the likes of Scott McTominay, Axel Tuanzebe, Demetri Mitchell, goalkeeper Joel Castro Pereira and the aforementioned Harrop.

Pogba doubled United's lead minutes later after Jesse Lingard drove at Palace's defence before playing a square pass that the Frenchman slotted home after a slip by Joel Ward.

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Expectations on Paul Pogba were also very high and the Frenchman has had ups and downs as well this season.

United's defence was soon breathing a sigh of relief as former United winger Wilfried Zaha sent in a cross met by a superb Christian Benteke header struck the base of the post.

Crystal Palace played at half-throttle and blew the best chance they have had of beating United for the first time in 16 League attempts.

Mourinho has jokingly pleaded with Allardyce to rest the likes of Zaha and Christian Benteke, but there is little chance of that as the Eagles - now 13th - could finish as high as 11th or as low as 16th depending on results.

The importance of the Europa League final to Jose Mourinho's standing at Old Trafford is also illustrated by a report in the Sunday Mirror today.

- Crystal Palace have lost 13 times to United in the Premier League, more than any other side they've faced.

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