London (AFP) – Jose Mourinho slammed criticism of Manchester United’s cautious approach in their 2-1 win over bitter rivals Liverpool on Saturday, while West Ham fans rebelled in ugly scenes during their 3-0 defeat against Burnley on Saturday.
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.
More significantly, Mourinho’s men moved another huge step closer to guaranteeing a top-four finish by opening up a 12-point lead on fifth-placed Chelsea.
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.
But 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 in third, but they could drop to fourth if Tottenham win at Bournemouth on Sunday.
“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, Ashley Barnes blasted Burnley in front from 18 yards out 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.
– Shameful scenes –
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.
Newcastle boosted their survival bid and kept Southampton in trouble with a 3-0 win at St James’ Park.
Kenedy put Newcastle ahead after just 64 seconds as the Brazilian midfielder netted his first goal since joining on loan from Chelsea in January.
Kenedy scored again in the 29th minute before Matt Ritchie wrapped up the points after 57 minutes.
Newcastle are five points clear of the bottom three, while Southampton sit only one point above the drop zone.
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.
Pardew’s side, currently eight points from safety after a sixth successive league defeat, struck first when Salomon Rondon converted Oliver Burke’s eighth-minute cross.
Jamie Vardy equalised with a stunning strike, smashing in as the ball dropped over his shoulder from Riyad Mahrez’s pass in the 21st minute.
Mahrez put Leicester in front in the 62nd minute with a blistering drive.
Kelechi Iheanacho made it three for the visitors in the 76th minute and Vicente Iborra capped the rout in stoppage-time.
Everton eased the pressure on boss Sam Allardyce with a 2-0 win over Brighton at Goodison Park.
Brighton defender Gaetan Bong turned Yannick Bolasie’s cross into his own net on the hour mark and Cenk Tosun increased Everton’s advantage in the 76th minute.
Albion had Anthony Knockaert sent off in the 80th minute for a crude lunge on Leighton Baines before Everton’s Wayne Rooney missed a late penalty.
Swansea drew 0-0 at Huddersfield despite having Ghana striker Jordan Ayew sent off in the 11th minute for a studs-up foul on Jonathan Hogg.
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