Jose Mourinho slammed criticism of Manchester United’s cautious approach in their 2-1 win over bitter rivals Liverpool yesterday, 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 in the Premier League.
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.
Liverpool were left to rue a slow start as Rashford twice finished impressively after Romelu Lukaku had outmuscled Dejan Lovren. Jurgen 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.
“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 win at Bournemouth today.
“Second half we had to continue chasing the game, then we scored the goal and should have been a penalty around Fellaini situation on Sadio,” Klopp lamented.
At the London Stadium, West Ham could face a heavy fine or possibly even a temporary ground closure as a result of their fans’ shameful behaviour.
Ashley Barnes blasted Burnley in front from 18 yards 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 towards 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, admitted 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. 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.
Meanwhile, Chelsea got back on track with a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge. Beaten in their previous two matches, Chelsea took the lead through Willian’s deflected effort in the 25th minute. Martin Kelly’s own goal seven minutes later doubled Chelsea’s lead and Patrick van Aanholt’s 90th-minute goal came too late to rescue third-bottom Palace.
Antonio Conte’s fifth-placed side closed to within two points of Tottenham in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
“We deserved to win,” Conte said. “For sure when you have so many chances it is important to be clinical, but we must be pleased with the performance and prepare for Barcelona.”
Newcastle boosted their survival bid and kept Southampton in trouble with a 3-0 win at St James’ Park, the goals coming from Kenedy’s brace and a Matt Ritchie strike while West Brom remain rooted to the bottom of the table as Leicester’s 4-1 win at the Hawthorns increased the pressure on boss Alan Pardew.
Salomon Rondon put Albion ahead but Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, Kelechi Iheanacho and Vicente Iborra replied for Leicester. Everton beat Brighton 2-0, while Swansea drew 0-0 at Huddersfield despite having Jordan Ayew sent off.