Manchester United beat Chelsea 3-2 thanks to Chris Smalling goal

Written by Thomas White, CNN

Before the season began, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho made it clear that he was concerned that some United fans might have been carrying an “aura of failure” this season, suggesting they would leave Old Trafford early.

So for their win at Chelsea on Sunday, a goal by Roo couldn’t have been nicer to see.

Mourinho’s side may have played second fiddle to Manchester City in the Premier League, but United won 3-2 at Stamford Bridge thanks to goals from Ashley Young, Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku.

Despite this, Mourinho, who returned to Stamford Bridge for the first time as United manager back in October, was disappointed by the result, saying “if we win this game, we take it home with us.”

Before the game, Mourinho had singled out Chelsea’s dominant approach to their league victory over Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday as proof that the club “can win it” this season, adding that his only concern was to secure his side’s place in the top four.

Mourinho’s side fell behind after nine minutes when Chelsea forward Eden Hazard converted from the penalty spot after a one-two with Marcos Alonso.

United fought back two minutes later thanks to a wonderful strike from left back Ashley Young. Ashley Young gets away from Cesar Azpilicueta. Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images

The cross was cut back in front of the United penalty area by Juan Mata, and after a quick touch Young turned and sent a screamer arrowing into the top right corner.

United went in front two minutes after the break when the outstanding Romelu Lukaku bundled home from close range at the back post after a lengthy goalmouth scramble.

Chelsea substitute Willian pulled a goal back two minutes later, slotting home from a Chelsea free kick.

But United held on in a frenetic finale thanks to the efforts of David de Gea, who saved twice from substitute Willian.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho shake hands at the end of the game. Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images

Overall, though, the game was a much-needed success for United, with Mourinho coming under serious pressure to bring stability to the club after it conceded 55 goals in 16 games last season.

Manchester United were some of the most scrutinized teams on Sunday, and Chelsea were sure that some supporters had turned up with a “confidence cocktail” to celebrate victory over City on Saturday, putting more pressure on Mourinho and the players.

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