Football

Mourinho demands more consistency

Man United on a roll but manager says there's still room for improvement

Manchester United can't stop scoring and can't seem to get anything wrong at the moment.

Saturday's 4-0 thrashing of bottom side Crystal Palace was their fourth league win of the season by the same scoreline.

It was the second time in a week they scored four goals, having won 4-1 against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League last Wednesday.

The win over Palace was also the sixth time in all competitions this term they have found the net four times.

Man United manager Jose Mourinho, however, is not getting carried away with his team's red-hot form.

"It is just four matches at home," said the Portuguese.

"I know that in the same four matches at home last season, we got eight points, not 12.

"We have four more points at home than last season.

"We are playing well. I don't say that we played well for 90 minutes because sometimes we have periods where we lose a bit our consistency, our intensity.

"But it is difficult to do that for 90 minutes."

United handed Palace their seventh straight loss of the season with Marouane Fellaini's brace sandwiched between Juan Mata's opener and Romelu Lukaku's late tap-in.

But Mourinho fears the international break could upset his team's momentum with the potential for injuries an additional concern.

"I don't welcome the break, it's bad," said Mourinho, whose side were held 2-2 at Stoke City after the last break in August.

"We had the first break and, two days after, the players came back we had to play another game.

"It's not a good situation for us, but moaning doesn't help.

"We have to wait for them and hope there are not many problems."

United, without long-term absentees Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo, face a tricky trip to Liverpool when Premier League action resumes on Oct 14, with games against Huddersfield, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea to follow.

In stark contrast to United's fortunes, rock-bottom Palace, beaten 5-0 at Manchester City two weeks ago, are now only the second Premier League side in history to lose their opening seven games - after Portsmouth in 2009-10 - and the first in 129 years of the Football League to do so without scoring a single goal.

Palace boss Roy Hodgson, who has been in charge for three of those and played Bakary Sako as a makeshift striker here in the absence of the injured Christian Benteke, said that his team are like a boxer being beaten by superior fighters.

"We're like a boxer being knocked down by superior fighters," said Hodgson.

"But we're trying to stay in there, we're not giving up and we're not surrendering.

"Today, we knew we were playing a team that was quite possibly out of our league, and all we could do was give it our best shot.

"We are not going to have 38 games against Man City and Man United.

"I think if we can stop the players doubting themselves too much, who knows, we may look back on this terrible spell and say it helped us build the character to help us stay in the league." - WIRE SERVICES

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