Published: Mon, April 10, 2017
Sport | By Cecil Buchanan

Ibrahimovic: "I feel like Benjamin Button"

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 28th goal of the season in all competitions put United ahead and Sunderland's cause became all but impossible after Seb Larsson was sent off close to half-time.

Sunday's victory left United only four points short of the Champions League places with eight games to go and a game in hand over Manchester City in fourth.

When the Man United team sheet was released for the Sunderland game, there were a series of shocks for Red Devils supporters.

It was telling when Mourinho gave the 21-year-old a deserved pat on the back when he was replaced, with United in total control, soon after Ndong accidentally stood on his ankle.

Sunderland needing a win to boost their chance of surviving relegation began brightly with captain Lee Cattermole forcing a save from Sergio Romero who stood in for the injured David De Gea from 25 yards.

Mourinho's men won with plenty to spare, enjoying 70 percent of possession and playing against 10 men for more than half the game.

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"After Liverpool and Manchester City's victories, if we didn't win today it's nearly mathematically impossible [to finish fourth]. The players care and want to do well and we're not doing as well as we should be".

"Today was a good win and we have to keep focus and keep working and keep believing we can reach the top four".

"David has a little problem so he is not travelling", Mourinho said.

They have equalled the second-worst run of Premier League games without a goal having not scored for seven games and are 10 points adrift of 17th-placed Hull City. "It was good to protect him but was also good for him to play one hour with a good solid performance and no mistakes, so I'm really pleased for him". It was Larsson's first red card in his 278th Premier League appearance.

Regardless of the personnel though, the most important thing on Sunday for United is all three points, and given the quality with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the final third, they'll expect to have too much for Sunderland. There's no contact at all, so it's not even a booking.

While Sunderland are in real trouble of being relegated, Moyes is refusing to admit defeat. However, like Benjamin Button, he amusingly claims to feel younger with each game.

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