Alexis Sanchez's 7/10 completes Man United fightback after shambolic first-half display

Preparation for the game could not have been much worse for Manchester United, with speculation swirling regarding the future for Jose Mourinho, and their situation went from bad to worse when they conceded two goals in the opening 10 minutes.

At that stage, the players languidly made their way around the pitch, seemingly eager to make it an easier decision to sack Mourinho, but they emerged a different team in the second half to turn to two-goal deficit into a deserved win.

Substitutes Juan Mata and Alexis Sanchez both got on the scoresheet, as did Anthony Martial, leaving the Old Trafford crowd euphoric by the final whistle. The result might paper over the cracks but it was nevertheless a good win for a team that showed they still have some fight.


Any time you win, having been two down, it is a brilliant result. United's players looked like they had no courage in the first half but showed what they were made of in the second. Sanchez has rightly received plenty of criticism but came up with the goods on Saturday evening. His winning goal showed he hasn't given up on making a difference at this club.


United's first-half showing was appalling and each passing week illustrates more clearly why Mourinho was so desperate to sign a defender in the summer. Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford was given another chance to impress but, despite several chances being created for him, he failed to hit the target.

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- Mourinho made brave substitutions that paid off and, after watching his players do nothing in the opening 45 minutes, obviously said enough at half-time to turn things around.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK David De Gea, 6 -- There was nothing he could have done about Newcastle's goals but he made some important stops after that to keep his side in with a chance.

DF Ashley Young, 3 -- Starting in place of the dropped Antonio Valencia, Young got nowhere near Newcastle scorers Kennedy and Yoshinori Muto. However, he helped the attack in the second half and it was from his cross that Sanchez scored the winner.

DF Eric Bailly, 2 -- Taken off with just 19 minutes played, having been nowhere for the first Newcastle goal and lost a header in the lead-up to the second.

DF Chris Smalling, 4 -- Was a spectator as Kenedy scored and made an awful mistake just before half-time, which could have led to another goal.

DF Luke Shaw, 6 -- Took one for the team when picking up a yellow card to stop a Newcastle counter in injury-time of the first half, but did well on the left flank in the second period.

MF Scott McTominay, 3 -- He put in a few tackles and did not do anything particularly good or bad. In truth, though, you would not have known he was playing, either in midfield where he started at centre-back once Bailly went off. Taken off at half-time.

MF Nemanja Matic, 5 -- Moved into defence for the second half and also missed an absolute sitter from close range. Overall, he looked off the pace but won the ball back on several occasions.

MF Paul Pogba, 6 -- He only managed a soft attempt on goal just before half-time, but upped his game from a deep midfield position thereafter and seemed to work harder than recently. Saw lots of the ball and laid on Martial's equaliser.

FW Anthony Martial, 6 -- On the one hand, he dwelled on the ball too often, his crossing was appalling and he gave the ball away time and again. On the other, he won the free kick that led to Mata's goal and scored United's equaliser. In the end, Martial's was a vital contribution.

FW Romelu Lukaku, 5 -- He put in a great cross from which Rashford should have scored but was more or less anonymous after that. He did get involved in some second-half attacks, coming out to the right to create chances, but had little end product. He probably need a rest.

FW Marcus Rashford, 5 -- He had a great opportunity to pull a goal back at 2-0 but his header went wide and he later missed again in the air from close range. He was, though, one of the few players who actually tried throughout his time on the pitch.


FW Juan Mata, 6 -- On for Bailly, he came close with an effort from outside the box before scoring with an excellent free kick to start the comeback.

MF Marouane Fellaini, 5 -- Got involved and made a pest of himself, but did not directly influence proceedings too much.

FW Alexis Sanchez, 7 -- Did not make much impact after replacing Rashford, until he headed home Young's cross to seal the win.