Sunderland punish United

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Sunderland boosted their Premier League survival hopes with a deserved victory over an uninspired Manchester United.

Wahbi Khazri put the strugglers ahead after three minutes with a free-kick from the left that eluded everyone.

Anthony Martial levelled after he clipped the ball over Vito Mannone, who had parried Juan Mata’s shot.

But the Black Cats won it when Lamine Kone’s header from Khazri’s corner went in via a deflection off keeper David de Gea.

Will Allardyce’s signings keep Sunderland up?

Sunderland’s win takes them to within one point of rivals Newcastle and safety after a game inspired by manager Sam Allardyce’s January signings.

Tunisia forward Khazri made his first Premier League start in their last game, a 2-2 draw with Liverpool where he assisted Jermain Defoe’s equaliser.

And the signing from Bordeaux was inspired again, scoring early on against United with a free-kick which Defoe stepped over to bamboozle United’s defence and De Gea.

And their winner – while credited as a De Gea own goal – was all thanks to the powerful header from Kone, a signing from Lorient.

De Gea got a touch, with Martial appearing to hit the ball off his own keeper on the way in.

Pressure will not ease on Van Gaal

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has been frustrated this week by media reports, including from BBC Sport, saying that Jose Mourinho’s representatives have spoken to the club about their client replacing the Dutchman.

Van Gaal has continued to insist that the club can finish in the top four, although the defeat keeps fifth-placed United six points behind Manchester City, who now have a game in hand.

Based on this performance his confidence in the side looks misplaced, while the result has done nothing to boost his chances of keeping his job.

United dominated the final stages of the first half, but other than that they were matched or outplayed by Sunderland, who could have scored more.

Love gives Man Utd strength (in depth)

Manchester United now have seven defenders injured after they lost Matteo Darmian to a shoulder injury during the first half.

On Saturday, the day before Valentine’s Day, Van Gaal brought on the appropriately named Donald Love, a Scotland Under-21 international. The former Wigan loanee had a solid performance on is debut at right-back.

The 21-year-old joined in United’s attack at will and showed he was not overawed when he screamed at captain Wayne Rooney for over-hitting the return ball of a one-two.

Man of the match – Wahbi Khazri

The 25-year-old was brilliant throughout, and caused United plenty of problems even outside of the two goals. On several occasions he dropped back and helped intercept attacks.

Source : BBC

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