Jose Mourinho hailed his much-changed Manchester United for taking care of business in the FA Cup as Wayne Rooney’s landmark 249th goal stretched the holders’ unbeaten run to eight games.
United’s captain equalled Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time record in 215 fewer appearances with a seventh-minute volley that came off the inside of his right knee to set the hosts on their way to a 4-0 romp over Reading at Old Trafford.
Rooney, who had missed the past three matches with a thigh strain, was one of nine United changes from Monday’s win over West Ham and though he was unable to add a record-breaking effort in the final 83 minutes, he did set up Anthony Martial to double the lead before Marcus Rashford claimed a second-half brace.
United had not won eight on the spin since 2009 and even without the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, Mourinho was able to rely on his squad’s depth.
“It was very professional, I could feel it from the first minute, there were two big chances already to score” the Portuguese said.
“The team was intense, the team was dynamic, playing well and then obviously, as we expected, they are good with the ball so when we give them the chance to have the ball, they had it and they moved the ball, created not big chances but some attacking football and for a long time the game was still open at 2-0. I’m really happy with our attitude.
“It just confirmed what I knew already (about the squad). People are very professional, people train so well and because they train so well they can come here and perform the way they did.
“They train very well, they have a big desire to play, they are very good friends in-between them so they are always positive and when someone is not playing, he’s motivating another one and waiting for their opportunity. Everybody that played gave a very good answer but it is no surprise to me.”
Rooney stole the headlines but the performance of teenager Rashford was one of the most pleasing aspects for Mourinho.
The young forward raced through to score his first in a one-on-one situation before pressuring Ali Al-Habsi into a calamitous error to round off the rout late on.
“I spoke with him at half-time and told him I don’t care with the goals he missed in the first half because he had a big responsibility in the way we were breaking their defensive line,” Mourinho added.
“He was playing so well, one more goal, one less goal, it doesn’t change. But for an attacking player to score a goal means happiness, confidence, it was good for him.
“He’s very fast and the team knows how to change between Marcus and Zlatan, they are two different players, we know the kind of movements we have to do. With Marcus in the first half we were very objective and we created lots of problems to Reading.”