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BOURNEMOUTH AWAY: FIVE TALKING POINTS

16 2016Manchester United secured a first Premier League win under Jose Mourinho on Sunday with a 3-1 triumph over Bournemouth and there was plenty to discuss after the match. We've picked out five key talking points from the victory on an enjoyable day for the manager, players and fans alike...

1. Premier League debut boys impress
United’s starting line-up included two players making their Premier League debuts – Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – with both making significant contributions. Bailly carried on where he left off against Leicester City last weekend with another Man-of-the-Match display, despite being injured most of the week and training just once on Saturday. He looked as solid as ever at the heart of the defence alongside the also excellent Daley Blind, and both earned praise from their manager afterwards. Ibrahimovic’s hold-up play at the other end was as impressive as his strike for United’s third goal, while Henrikh Mikhitaryan came on for the final 15 minutes for his Premier League bow and became the first Armenian player to feature in English football’s top flight.

2. Another landmark Zlatan goal
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s fine strike on 69 minutes was another landmark goal for the Swede, who has now found the net in his maiden games in the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1 and Champions League. He told reporters after the match that he "feels alive" in the English game and he certainly looked lively throughout the game at the Vitality Stadium. His eye for goal is renowned, but it was his neat touches and flicks alongside his intelligent movement and passing which stood out against the Cherries. Rather tidily, Ibrahimovic’s strike ensured goals for United’s no.8, 9 and 10 on the day.

3. Mourinho felt nerves
For a manager as decorated as Jose Mourinho and who has confidence and belief oozing through his veins, it was refreshing to hear in his post-match press conference that he felt a few nerves before kick-off. "Yes, before the match a little bit. For somebody with so many years of football to have that feeling is normal,"he added. "I never forget one day when I came to Old Trafford with Real Madrid and before the game asked Sir Alex if he was still nervous – 'yes', he said. That will never change. Experience helps in many things, but you always have a little feeling, which is good, I think." The win over Bournemouth ensured Mourinho maintained his impressive record of never having lost an opening game of a Premier League season. It now reads: won seven, drawn one.

4. 250 up for Valencia
He’s been one of United’s star performers throughout pre-season and Antonio Valencia looked sharp once more in the victory over Bournemouth, a special game for the winger-cum-full-back as he celebrated 250 appearances for the Reds. The Reds’ main attacking threat came down the right side and it was Valencia’s cross to Anthony Martial which led to United’s second goal from Wayne Rooney. The Ecuadorian, who has set up two of Ibrahimovic’s three goals for United to date, including the Community Shield winner, will hope to maintain his strong form, with Mourinho clearly impressed by what he’s seen so far.

5. Mata on the mark
Juan Mata’s opening goal for the Reds on Sunday came at a crucial time in the match, as the Spaniard took full advantage of a terrible backpass from Simon Francis to steal in and give United the lead five minutes before the break. Some had questioned whether or not the talented playmaker would fit into Mourinho’s plans after the manager sold him to the Reds during his time at Chelsea, but Mata clearly has an important role in the squad. Impressively, the match at Bournemouth was his 52nd consecutive league game for United, having not missed one since February 2015.

 

ROONEY SPEAKS

Rooney 652131ROONEY: MORE TO COME FROM US

Wayne Rooney says there is plenty more to come from the Reds after the captain helped fire Manchester United to an opening Premier League win of the campaign at Bournemouth.

Rooney recorded goal 246 of his Old Trafford career with a simple headed finish in the second half on Sunday.

In an interview with MUTV and Sky Sports after the game, he stressed the importance of getting off to a winning start and was pleased to get himself amongst the goals.

“It’s always important to win your first game. I thought we played some good stuff, especially in the second half. There was some good build-up play and counterattack play. I thought we deserved to win," he said.

“It’s always nice when you’re scoring. I had a couple of chances and maybe could have got one more, but I was pleased with my overall performance and getting the goal and the three points.

“I believe in my own ability, I’m confident and I believe I’m good enough to play. And if I play where I played today I’ll score goals.

“I hope so,” he added, when asked if there was a lot more to come from the Reds. “Some players are still getting up to full fitness in the first game of the season. You’re never quite where you want to be, I’m sure that will come after a few games. We know we can play better than we did today [Sunday], although we did quite well, and I’m sure we will over the coming weeks.”

Rooney also had special praise for his strike partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who capped his Premier League debut with a goal.

“Zlatan is obviously a top-quality player and it’s always great to play with him. He’s a target man but also has great feet,” declared the skipper. “I just have to move off him and try to get to into the pockets of space that are available.

“He was unlucky with his free-kick [that was saved] and it was a good strike for his goal. He’s played in different leagues throughout Europe and scored in all of them and I’ve no doubt he’ll continue to score for us.”

More: Click on the play button above to see what Rooney had to say about Ibrahimovic.

 

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