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Manchester United 4-1 Newcastle: Paul Pogba returns with a goal

Paul Pogba celebrates
Paul Pogba celebrates

Paul Pogba returned from injury to inspire Manchester United to a 4-1 win over Newcastle at Old Trafford.

The France midfielder, fit again after a two-month absence, scored and set up another goal as United replied to Dwight Gayle's early strike to keep themselves eight points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Pogba created the equaliser for Anthony Martial before Chris Smalling put the hosts ahead. Pogba then increased the advantage and Romelu Lukaku made victory certain by ending his barren run.

Anthony Martial celebrates
Anthony Martial celebrates

United's night got even better when they were able to bring Zlatan Ibrahimovic, out since April with a knee injury, on for his long-awaited comeback in the closing stages.

The result meant United boss Jose Mourinho got the better of his old rival Rafael Benitez in their first clash for a decade.

The Red Devils are 12/1 second-favourites behind Manchester City (odds-on at 1/7) in Sky Bet's title betting.

Story of the odds

  • The biggest RequestABet winner for Sky Bet punters was Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku both to score, Manchester United to win and 10+ Manchester United corners at 14/1.
  • Dwight Gayle to score first and Manchester United to win 4-1 was available at 325/1 before kick-off.

Post-match reaction

Zlatan Ibrahimovic once again compared himself to a lion after returning from a knee injury.

Following his return as a second-half substitute in the win at Old Trafford, Ibrahimovic was asked if he ever doubted he would return.

He told BT Sport 1: "No, because lions they don't recover like humans."

The Swede added: "It's special. Different day, same quality. I am not worried. I am not worried at all because I know what I do. I train hard. I sacrificed a lot.

"It is not easy, especially in my case. It was not like I went on vacation. I had a different summer because I was without a contract. As soon as I signed I wanted to focus on the team. I wanted to give something to help the team as best as possible.

"It's about coming back and making a statement. I'm just thankful I can play football again."

Paul Pogba said it was more important that United won than he scored on his own comeback from two months out.

He said: "We won, that's the most important thing. I see the same team. I feel the same thing. I feel the same atmosphere with the team. The critics we just forget about them."

United boss Jose Mourinho on the boost of Pogba's return: "He was top. It looked like he had not been out. He came back with a really great performance. He was a great influence in the game. He had to come out when he felt the first sign of fatigue, because we don't want to go over the limits.

"So he played a little bit more than an hour, and for that hour it looked like he wasn't for such a long time not playing football. He affects our football. We all know, myself and the fellow players, that certain players influence the levels of the team. With him we have much more creation. I am so happy."

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez insisted he could have no complaints about his side's performance: "You see the difference in terms of money spent but it is not something we didn't know. We knew that was a massive difference between both teams. But I am really pleased with our performance in the first 30 minutes (United equalised in the 37th minute).

"My team was creating problems and doing well, working very hard. But then you play Newcastle United against Manchester United, so different levels and different teams. I am really proud of my players."

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