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Jose Mourinho’s first Premier League encounter in charge of Manchester United resulted in a 3-1 victory over Bournemouth at Dean Court.
Poor defending from Simon Francis provided Juan Mata with a tap-in to give United a half-time advantage. The Spaniard gleefully celebrated his goal, having been the subject of speculation ever since Mourinho, who sold the attacking midfielder from Chelsea, arrived to take over the Old Trafford reins.
With Bournemouth pushing for a leveller and leaving space at the back, Wayne Rooney cleverly headed in the away side’s second goal, before Zlatan Ibrahimovic's long-range strike further extended United’s lead.
Although Jordon Ibe had a couple of half-chances when his side were 1-0 down, the Cherries rarely threatened, but Adam Smith’s excellent finish gave the home side hope.
United, though, were able to see out the game in relative comfort to secure an opening-weekend triumph.
The visitors controlled matters from the opening whistle but failed to create a decent chance or test home goalkeeper Artur Boruc until the 27th minute, when Rooney had a strike from 15 yards comfortably saved.
Bournemouth enjoyed a good spell before gifting United the lead with five minutes of the half remaining.
Ander Herrera’s ball over the top was seemingly unthreatening but a short back-pass from Francis allowed Mata to poke an effort at goal, which Boruc saved, only for Francis to conveniently bundle the rebound to the attacker, who netted with ease.
Rooney looked set to double United’s lead early in the second half, latching onto Zlatan Ibrahimovic's superb flick, but Boruc excellently blocked the visiting captain’s attempt.
Rooney, though, got his goal a minute prior to the hour, backpedalling and using the ball’s natural spin to nod home after Anthony Martial had volleyed Antonio Valencia’s fine cross into the ground.
Five minutes later, Ibrahimovic drove towards the Bournemouth penalty area and struck a 25-yard shot low into the far corner of the deceived Boruc’s net.
Smith quickly tempered United’s delight, collecting Lewis Grabban’s incisive pass, cutting inside and driving a left-footed effort high into the goal.
Despite the hosts applying heavy pressure at the death, however, Smith’s strike would be as good as it got for the hosts, as the tactically astute away side secured the three points.
United’s performance was professional, competent and decisive, and with the wide-open nature of the championship fight, those qualities may be precisely what is required for the Red Devils to launch their first truly threatening title assault since the departure of Alex Ferguson.