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Manchester United 4-1 Fulham: Hosts secure biggest league win of the season

By Michael EmonsBBC Sport
Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku scored his first competitive goal for United at Old Trafford since March, ending a run of 997 minutes in all competitions

Manchester United recorded their biggest Premier League win of the season as they swept aside Fulham in a match Cottagers boss Claudio Ranieri described as "11 lambs against 11 wolves".

The victory - United's first in five league matches - moved them up to sixth, while bottom-of-the-table Fulham have now conceded 40 goals in 16 matches.

"In the first half we were shy, we were waiting," said Ranieri after his fourth match in charge. "Why? Why were we waiting? The first half was a warm-up.

"I want my team to play and fight for every single ball. We have to be stronger, more confident in our qualities.

"In the first half it was 11 lambs against 11 wolves. The wolves ate the lambs."

The hosts took the lead after 13 minutes when Ashley Young bustled his way into the penalty area and curled the ball into the far corner.

Marcus Rashford set up Juan Mata for United's second, before Romelu Lukaku finished from close range from Mata's low cross.

Substitute Aboubakar Kamara pulled one back with a penalty after he had been fouled by Ander Herrera, but Ranieri's side were soon reduced to 10 men, when Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa was dismissed for two bookable offences.

England striker Rashford sealed United's victory with a powerful strike from a tight angle to beat Sergio Rico at his near post.

This was the first time this season the Red Devils had won by a three-goal margin in the league, although they did beat Young Boys 3-0 in the Champions League in September.

The last time they won by three goals in the league was on 15 January, with a 3-0 home defeat of Stoke.

Man Utd 4-1 Fulham: First half was lambs v wolves - Claudio Ranieri

Man Utd impress without Pogba

This was a welcome win for United after a derby defeat by Manchester City on 11 November that preceded three successive draws in the league - against Crystal Palace, Southampton and Arsenal.

That had increased the external pressure on Mourinho, though his agent said on Friday the Portuguese was "very happy at the club and the club is very happy with him".

Mourinho named World Cup winner Paul Pogba on the bench, as he was against the Gunners, while forward Anthony Martial was missing because of a hamstring injury.

The United boss kept faith with 19-year-old right-back Diogo Dalot, starting a Premier League match for only the second time after his £19m summer move from Porto, and was rewarded with a fine performance.

But United's first goal came from the other full-back - Young, who picked up the ball on the side of the penalty area, forced his way past Denis Odoi and curled home.

Mata, who came in for Martial, was also excellent, scoring the second, then setting up Lukaku - scoring his second goal in 15 United games - for the third.

Kamara lifted Fulham's hopes of a recovery with a controversial penalty after he was tackled by Herrera, who looked to have won the ball.

But the London side were reduced to 10 men within two minutes of that goal, and from then on United dominated again and Rashford got the goal he deserved in the 82nd minute to complete a fine evening for United and Mourinho.

Manchester United
Juan Mata, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford all got on the scoresheet for Manchester United

A lot of work for Ranieri to do

For Fulham, the opening half highlighted their defensive frailties. They are the only team not to have kept a clean sheet in the top flight this season, and have now conceded at least three goals in a match in seven of 16 games.

Ranieri will be worried by the ease with which his side were carved open for United's first three goals.

The Italian, a Premier League winner with Leicester, made two big decisions at half-time - replacing top goalscorer Aleksandar Mitrovic and captain Tom Cairney with Luciano Vietto and Kamara - and was rewarded with a much better second-half performance.

Kamara won a penalty and converted it himself, but any hope of an incredible fightback ended within two minutes when Anguissa was sent off. The Cameroon international seemed to be penalised harshly by referee Lee Probert when he was adjudged to have fouled Rashford, after being cautioned for an earlier foul on Lingard.

With only 10 men, it was no surprise Fulham conceded again and Ranieri will face a very difficult task to tighten his side up in defence as they look to avoid an instant return to the Championship.

Mourinho reaches his half-century of United league wins - the stats

  • Mourinho recorded his 50th Premier League victory as United manager in his 92nd game.
  • Fulham have conceded in 20 consecutive top-flight games - their longest run without a clean sheet in the top tier.
  • Fulham have conceded 40 goals in their opening 16 Premier League games this season; only Barnsley in 1997-98 (43) have conceded more at this stage of a top-flight campaign since the start of the 1965-66 season.
  • Fulham have lost 22 of their past 24 away matches against United in all competitions (won one, drew one) - their only win in this sequence was a 3-1 victory in the Premier League in October 2003.
  • Rashford (one goal, two assists) has been directly involved in three goals in a single Premier League game for only the second time in his career and the first since his debut in the competition versus Arsenal in February 2016.
  • Mata is only the third Spanish player to both score 50+ goals and register 50+ assists in Premier League history, after Cesc Fabregas and David Silva.
  • Young ended a run of 39 games in all competitions without a goal for United, since netting twice versus Watford in November 2017 - 375 days ago.

Man of the match - Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

Marcus Rashford
Special mentions to Diogo Dalot and Juan Mata, but Marcus Rashford leaves with a goal and two assists to his name. The England striker had gone eight games for club and country without a goal before his well-deserved late strike

'Beautiful football' - what they said

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho told Sky Sports: "The first half was really good. We gave no chances to Fulham. We were strong, aggressive and intense. At times it was beautiful football. The first half was perfect.

"The second half was Ranieri's fault. He made two changes that improved his team and gave us problems that we didn't have in the first half. I also think there was some fatigue in some of my players. A few factors made the second half not as good as the first.

"We were intense without the ball and with the ball. Without the ball we pressed, we kept Mitrovic away from goal. With the ball it was simple, one or two touches. We were really good.

"We needed it. The last three matches we didn't lose, but didn't win. Now we have two away matches, then two at home. Let's see if we can get more points from those matches.

"The players have shown they can be a better team than they are. When there is solidarity in the team, everyone giving their maximum, you attract more positive things."

Man Utd 4-1 Fulham: 'Intense & happy' first half pleases Jose Mourinho

Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri told BBC Sport: "The second half was much better but I have to consider if that was a down from Manchester United because they were winning 3-0 or we made a good performance.

"Go, play football. Then, if they score, it is normal. In the second half, we did. Why we didn't in the first half, I need to speak with my players.

"The response in the second half was positive. We played with more intensity, we were hungry, everything better than the first half."

What's next?

Manchester United travel to Valencia in their final Champions League Group H game on Wednesday, 12 December (20:00 GMT). United have already qualified for the last 16 but can still win the group, although they need to beat the Spanish side and hope Juventus drop points at Swiss side Young Boys.

United are next in Premier League action when they play at Liverpool on Sunday, 16 December (16:00 GMT). That game comes a day after Fulham's next match - against West Ham at Craven Cottage (Saturday, 17:30 GMT).


Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1de Gea
  • 20DalotBooked at 45mins
  • 12SmallingSubstituted forRojoat 58'minutes
  • 4Jones
  • 18Young
  • 21Herrera
  • 31Matic
  • 8Mata
  • 14LingardSubstituted forFredat 73'minutes
  • 10RashfordSubstituted forMcTominayat 84'minutes
  • 9Lukaku


  • 6Pogba
  • 15Pereira
  • 16Rojo
  • 17Fred
  • 22Romero
  • 27Fellaini
  • 39McTominay


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 25Rico
  • 4Odoi
  • 26Mawson
  • 13Ream
  • 23Bryan
  • 24SeriBooked at 72mins
  • 29Zambo AnguissaBooked at 68mins
  • 14SchürrleSubstituted forCisséat 73'minutes
  • 10CairneySubstituted forViettoat 45'minutes
  • 3R Sessegnon
  • 9MitrovicSubstituted forKamaraat 45'minutes


  • 1Bettinelli
  • 7Kebano
  • 8Johansen
  • 19Vietto
  • 22Christie
  • 44Cissé
  • 47Kamara
Lee Probert

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamFulham
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 4, Fulham 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester United 4, Fulham 1.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Manchester United. Romelu Lukaku tries a through ball, but Juan Mata is caught offside.

  4. Post update

    Phil Jones (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham).

  6. Post update

    Offside, Manchester United. Ander Herrera tries a through ball, but Fred is caught offside.

  7. Post update

    Scott McTominay (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Luciano Vietto (Fulham).

  9. Post update

    Fred (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Jean Michael Seri (Fulham).

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Aboubakar Kamara (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Ryan Sessegnon.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Joe Bryan (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jean Michael Seri.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Tim Ream with a headed pass.

  14. Post update

    Attempt saved. Scott McTominay (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Diogo Dalot.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Scott McTominay replaces Marcus Rashford.

  16. Goal!

    Goal! Manchester United 4, Fulham 1. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ashley Young.

  17. Post update

    Attempt saved. Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marcus Rashford.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ander Herrera.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right.

  20. Post update

    Fred (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.


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