Manchester United signed off for the international break with another victory to keep up a 100 per cent record in the Premier League so far, and it came in dramatic fashion as Marcus Rashford came off the bench to net a deserved winner for the Reds.
It was a match United totally dominated, but it took until injury time for the breakthrough to arrive when some superb and dogged play from Wayne Rooney on the left flank teed up Rashford to slot home.
Mourinho kept faith with the same starting eleven who had impressively beaten Southampton 2-0 eight days earlier, and the seven substitutes were also unchanged. The Reds faced a Hull side who, despite being tipped for relegation having not signed any new players over the summer, sat level on points at kick-off with United after two wins from two.
The man who had done most of the damage for Mourinho’s men in the opening couple of matches of the season was Zlatan Ibrahimovic and it was the Swede who had the first chance of the game on 10 minutes when he flashed a header just over from Anthony Martial’s cross.
In possession United were dominant, but further clear-cut opportunities were few and far between. A speculative Paul Pogba effort and Juan Mata free-kick were both on target but neither troubled goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic. The Hull stopper was, however, grateful to his captain Curtis Davies, who blocked Rooney’s shot on the line on 37 minutes after some lovely build-up play from Mata.
The Tigers, managed by former United player and assistant manager Mike Phelan, spent much of the first period in their own half and only had some respite when Robert Snodgrass twice went close in quick succession, first with a free-kick and then with an effort at the far post which was well defended by Luke Shaw, while Abel Hernandez struck a decent effort at David De Gea just before the break.
Just before Hernandez’s shot it looked like Ibrahimovic had given the Reds the lead when he latched onto Rooney’s free-kick, but his clever back-heeled effort from an awkward angle found the side-netting much to the striker’s frustration.
Possession: Hull: 37% United 63%
Shots on goal: Hull 5 United 11
Shots on target: Hull 2 United 3
Corners: Hull 0 United 1
The pattern of the first half continued after the break but with the scores still locked at 0-0 when the clock ticked on to the hour-mark, Mourinho felt a change was needed as Henrikh Mkhitaryan replaced Martial in attack.
The Armenian set about making an impact and some incisive passes, good movement and a brilliant burst forward from his own half at one point certainly lifted the Reds, but the dogged Tigers side continued to stand firm and almost stole the lead when Tom Huddlestone’s shot took a huge deflection off the impressive Eric Bailly, but thankfully it dropped wide.
A further attacking threat arrived in the form of Rashford for the final 19 minutes and after Rooney and Pogba had both blasted efforts off target, the 18-year-old drew a brilliant save from Jakupovic after a superb run and shot.
Hull almost conceded two own goals as United kept up the pressure. A Pogba curler two minutes from time also looked to be heading in, but it dropped the wrong side of the post.
It looked like Mourinho’s men would be forced to settle for a point, until some brilliance from Rooney down the left led to Rashford firing in from three yards much to the delight of everyone in red. It was classic United and another memorable moment in the already exciting short career of Marcus Rashford.
Possession: Hull 38% United 62%
Shots: Hull 8 United 29
Shots on target: 2 United 9
Corners: Hull 1 United 6
Hull City: Jakupovic, Robertson, Davies, Meyler, Huddlestone, Hernandez (Maguire 83), Snodgrass (Maloney 48), Clucas, Livermore, Diomande, Elmohamady. Subs not used: Kuciak, Bowen, Olley, Clackstone, Hinchliffe.
Booked: Huddlestone, Meyler.
United: De Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Shaw, Fellaini, Pogba, Mata (Rashford 71), Rooney (Smalling 90), Martial (Mkhitaryan 60), Ibrahimovic. Subs not used: Romero, Herrera, Schneiderlin, Young.
Booked: Fellaini, Rooney, Rashford.
“I’m more than happy to say that we won in ‘Fergie time’. I always believed the goal would arrive.” – Jose Mourinho
“I loved it. Emotion-wise that’s the best I’ve ever felt on the pitch. It was an unreal feeling and it meant to so much to all of us. Matches like these could win you championships.” – Luke Shaw
“It’s a great feeling to score a late winner like that. It’s a massive win for us. We believed until the last second and were fighting for it. It’s well deserved.” – Daley Blind