We are in the midst of games, where Manchester United had an opportunity to close the top on the teams ahead of them in the table.
If Jose Mourinho’s side were to finally climb into the top four they had to take advantage of this run of fixtures, and they did not get off to a good start when they could only draw 0-0 at home with Hull last weekend.
But with Liverpool losing at Hull and Arsenal losing at Chelsea, Sunday’s trip to the Champions presented an opportunity for Manchester United to close the gap on the two sides immediately above them in the table.
And finally United took advantage of the slip-up by Liverpool and Arsenal as goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juan Mata sealed the three points
Afterwards, Mourinho, who praised his players for a clinical display in the first half, believes his side are very much in the race for the Champions League places.
“We played like we normally play. We played well, we tried to win, obviously the opponent was difficult but that’s something we’re used to,” he told Sky Sports.
“We didn’t have the best start but then we had control, moved the ball well, created chances and scored goals. That’s the only difference – we arrived at half-time with a 2-0 result, and then we controlled the game and it was quite easy.
“I don’t look to rivals, I look to ourselves. I can say that, if we beat Hull City at home and get a point at Leicester, it would be four positive points. We drew at home against Hull and won these three points here. We need a little bit of balance in something we consider to be okay.
“We’re still in the same position but a little bit closer to the others. We keep fighting.”
United surprisingly started with Marcus Rashford alongside Ibrahimovic in a 4-4-2, although they reverted to their accustomed 4-2-3-1 after a difficult opening 20 minutes. When asked about the tactical switch, Mourinho explained:
“We went 4-4-2, the same system as they play. We tried not to give [Wes] Morgan and [Robert] Huth a two-against-one fight against Zlatan, we tried to give him more freedom with Marcus there.
“We were fine but without the same possession we normally have. We changed, we started finding more spaces and then the first goal came. Then everything was easy for us.”