It’s hard to imagine a more successful start to the unlikely union of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
Ibrahimovic, the mercurial Swedish striker, scored a pair of first-half goals to power Mourinho’s Red Devils to their third win in as many tries on the young season — a 2-0 victory over Southampton in front of a joyous Old Trafford crowd.
The goals from Ibrahimovic, who now has three in two league games, overshadowed the Old Trafford return of Paul Pogba, who started and played the full 90 minutes after his recent move from Juventus.
“If the team does good, the individual does good. Always,” Ibrahimovic said in a TV interview after the match. “I try to do what I’m best at — creating chances, help my teammates and scoring goals. I’m happy for the team. We’re becoming better and better. Two games, two wins. It’s a good start. We need to get used to winning, because the mental part is also important.”
Things started slowly for the home team, but Ibrahimovic’s thumping header from a Wayne Rooney cross in the 36th minute got the Red Devils on the scoreboard.
WATCH: A thumping header from Zlatan gives #MUFC the lead at the break! Watch live on Sky Sports 1 & NowTV! https://t.co/ShKgHlwW35
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) August 19, 2016
A few minutes after the halftime break, Luke Shaw won a penalty after a silly challenge from Jordi Clasie. Ibrahimovic made no mistake from the spot, and it was 2-0.
From the moment it left his boot he knew it was in. Any chance of a @SouthamptonFC comeback now? #PL https://t.co/pbgNp1vTkt
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) August 19, 2016
Other than a disallowed goal from Dusan Tadic, who was flagged for being offside, in the first half, the Saints never really threatened the United goal. The visitors had plenty of the ball, but managed only one shot on target — a first-half strike from Shane Long — in the match.
Jay Rodriguez did make a cameo as he returns from injury, which would probably be the bright spot on the day for Saints’ fans.
Southampton will host Sunderland, while Manchester United will visit Hull City next week.