Jose Mourinho on Saturday slammed criticism of Manchester United’s cautious approach in their 2-1 win over Liverpool, while West Ham fans rebelled in ugly scenes during their 3-0 defeat against Burnley.
Marcus Rashford scored twice in the first 25 minutes at Old Trafford, as United held off a Liverpool fightback to move five points clear of their visitors in second place.
United also closed to within 13 points of Manchester City, but barring a late-season collapse by the runaway league leaders, that gap looks unbridgeable.
Juergen Klopp’s side dominated possession as United sat back for long periods and Eric Bailly’s 66th-minute own-goal set up a tense finish.
However, United stuck to Mourinho’s conservative game plan to clinch the points and the Portuguese coach was in typically defiant mood when asked about the defensive tactics.
“If people don’t think we deserved it, I don’t care,” Mourinho said. “I am a bit tired. We have a match on Tuesday. I don’t care what people say. The boys are happy, I’m happy.”
Just a second defeat in 21 Premier League games leaves Liverpool still third, but they could drop to fourth if Tottenham won at Bournemouth yesterday.
Meanwhile, West Ham United could face a heavy fine or possibly even a temporary ground closure as a result of their fans’ behavior.
Ashley Barnes blasted Burnley in front in the 66th minute, prompting an angry West Ham supporter to run onto the pitch, where he was tackled to the ground by Hammers star Mark Noble.
The mood among the home fans turned even more toxic when Burnley’s Chris Wood doubled the visitors’ lead in the 70th minute.
Supporters flocked toward the directors’ box, chanting “sack the board” at co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold, while another ran onto the field to grab the corner flag.
Wood added insult to injury in the 81st minute, when he tapped in after a mistake by Hammers goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Gold and Sullivan were asked to leave the stadium for their own safety before the final whistle, as the West Ham fans continued to turn their anger on the directors.
Burnley’s coaching staff allowed children caught up in the chaos to shelter in their dug-out and Hammers boss David Moyes, whose side are only three points clear of the relegation zone, said he could understand why tensions boiled over.
“The players understand. We want to do well, just like the fans do,” Moyes said. “We want the supporters behind us, since I’ve been here they’ve been really good, but they can’t cross the line and come onto the pitch. I haven’t seen that before in my time in football.”
West Ham vowed to take “decisive and appropriate action” after completing a “full and thorough investigation,” while the Football Association “strongly condemned” the disturbances.
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