Victor Valdes slips to gift Manchester United third goal

Posted March 20, 2017

Jose Mourinho praised Manchester United's refusal to let fatigue get the better of them as they kept their top four bid on course with a 3-1 victory at Middlesbrough on Sunday.

The Manchester United boss vented his frustration after his team scraped through to the quarter-finals of the Europa League with a 2-1 aggregate victory over Rostov.

However, the hard work of Antonio Valencia paid off when, in injury time, he chased what appeared to be a hopeless cause way back to Boro keeper Victor Valdes, whose subsequent slip left the United wing-back with an empty net to wrap up the points.

Having parted company with Aitor Karanka on Thursday, hopes were high at the Riverside that Boro could turn the corner against a tired United side who were playing their third game in just seven days.

Negredo went close with two second-half headers, before Gestede made the most of an error from Chris Smalling to reduce the arrears from close range with his first league goal since a move from Aston Villa in January to end his side's eight-and-a-half hour wait for a league goal.

He said: "During my time in Italy the Italians decided that when the clubs go to the knock-out stages of the Europa League and Champions League, if they play on the Tuesday or Wednesday then the week before they play on the Friday".

The Boro failed to score in these three fixtures and have managed to score only four goals in last 10 matches played in all competitions.

The win has seen United leapfrog Arsenal into fifth, but rather than celebrate that fact, the focus has instead been on Jose Mourinho's tactics.

Wayne Rooney will miss at least one more match with a knee problem, Bastian Schweinsteiger is unavailable, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera are suspended.

It had looked like United's 600th Premier League win would be straightforward against goal-shy Boro, only for Rudy Gestede to capitalise on lax defending to reduce the deficit - his side's first league goal since January 31. Mata scored his 10th goal of the season against Rostov. They drew 1-1 in the first away at Russian Federation.

DF Eric Bailly, 6 - Showed great strength on plenty of occasions while playing on the right side of a back three and won the ball back more than any of United's other defenders. Sunday's visitors are without defeat in the past 12 matches against Boro, although the Teessiders did progress on penalties in a League Cup clash in October 2015.

"He was one of the players who never had a rest".

Next week, there will not be any Premier League action due to the worldwide break.