Manchester United back on track as Mourinho wields axe

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Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba on the attack against Bournemouth during their English Premier League football match at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, southern England on April 18, 2018. (AFP)

BOURNEMOUTH, April 19: Manchester United gave the perfect response to Jose Mourinho’s withering criticism as they got back on track with a 2-0 win against Bournemouth on Wednesday.
Goals from Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku sealed the points at Dean Court after Mourinho made seven changes in the aftermath of United’s shock defeat to struggling West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
That limp surrender had gifted the Premier League title to Manchester City, prompting Mourinho to accuse his players of complacency.
The United manager followed through on his threat to drop his under-performing stars, with Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata among the big names left out of the starting line-up ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham.
Paul Pogba kept his place despite mounting speculation Mourinho is ready to sell the out-of-form France midfielder in the close-season.
Mourinho’s hardline stance appeared to sting his players into action as Smalling opened the scoring in the first half.
Lukaku came off the bench to seal the points in the closing stages as United consolidated second place in the Premier League.
Mourinho’s side are 14 points clear of fifth placed Chelsea and will be guaranteed to qualify for the Champions League if the Blues fail to beat Burnley on Thursday.
Pogba was widely criticised for his lacklustre display against Albion — the latest in a long line of disappointing efforts from the former Juventus star since his move to United two seasons ago. (AFP)