Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku, right, celebrates scoring with teammate Paul Pogba
Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku, right, celebrates scoring with teammate Paul Pogba

’Perfect’ Pogba pass helps United secure vital win

MANCHESTER United strengthened their hold on second place in the English Premier League with a 2-0 win at Bournemouth on Wednesday.

Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku scored as United bounced back from a 1-0 loss to last-placed West Bromwich Albion at the weekend that gave Manchester City the title.

The win lifts them four points clear of third-placed Liverpool with four games remaining.

United manager Jose Mourinho demanded a response from his team following the West Brom game and got it.

"It was a good professional performance with good effort and responsibility," Mourinho, who made seven changes, told BT Sport.

Manchester United's English defender Chris Smalling (C) turns to celebrate after scoring the opening goal
Manchester United's English defender Chris Smalling (C) turns to celebrate after scoring the opening goal

"There was desire to score and a desire to cope with the defensive responsibilities against a fast team. Everything was good, I am happy." United struck first in the 28th minute when Jesse Lingard sent a ball across goal which Smalling easily tapped home.

Lukaku replaced Lingard just after the hour mark and teamed up with Paul Pogba to wrap up the victory.

Pogba made a run into the Bournemouth end and laid off a pass which Lukaku fired home for his 27th goal in all competitions this season.

Manchester United's English defender Chris Smalling (2nd R) celebrates with teammates
Manchester United's English defender Chris Smalling (2nd R) celebrates with teammates

"At half-time the manager told Paul to keep making those runs," Lukaku said. "He did and played a perfect pass which I was able to finish off." Bournemouth, who have won just one of their last nine games, remain in 11th place.

Manchester United's Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku (R) celebrates with Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba after scoring their second goal
Manchester United's Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku (R) celebrates with Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba after scoring their second goal

The result left United, who suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat by bottom team West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, second on 74 points from 34 games, 13 behind champions Manchester City and four ahead of third-placed Liverpool. Smalling fired the visitors ahead with a close-range finish in the 28th minute and Lukaku sealed the win with a superb strike in the 70th, burying his shot over advancing keeper Asmir Begovic after he was put through by Paul Pogba.


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