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Premier League

  • November 2, 2013
  • • 23:00
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: L. Probert
  • • Attendance: 25700

Fulham 1-3 Manchester United: Rooney & Van Persie heap more misery on struggling Jol

Fulham 1-3 Manchester United: Rooney & Van Persie heap more misery on struggling Jol

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David Moyes' men raced into a three-goal lead in the first half and did not look back, but the Scot still felt compelled to make three substitutions at the break

Manchester United piled the pressure on Fulhamboss Martin Jol as they cruised to a 3-1 win at Craven Cottage.

Speculation over Jol's future at the club has been rife following a poor start to the season that has seen the Cottagers win just three games so far, leaving them in 15th in the Premier League.

By Greg Stobart
David Moyes will probably dig out his best bottle of wine for his post-match drink with Martin Jol to thank the Fulham manager for his hospitality in this comfortable win for the Premier League holders.

It came thanks to some woeful defending from the home team in the first 22 minutes as United romped to three-goal lead with strikes from Antonio Valencia, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney as they waltzed through the Fulham backline.

The hosts showed some real character in the second half and grabbed a goal back through Alex Kacaniklic’s deflected effort via Rooney’s boot - but you sensed United could have put their foot back on the pedal at will.

Fulham will also be sweating over possible action from the FA after Sascha Riether’s horrible late stamp on Adnan Januzaj, while Jol will again be feeling the heat after the home fans chanted for him to lose his job.

Fulham have not tasted victory over United since 2009 and were behind early on as Antonio Valencia was handed the easy task of tapping in from close range after Wayne Rooney had cleverly sucked in goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.

Robin van Persie doubled the lead as he latched on to a ball from Adnan Januzaj before rifling in at the near post.

And a first-half rout was completed when Van Persie supplied Rooney for another simple finish as United made it 10 goals in their last three games in all competitions, highlighting their continued improvement under manager David Moyes.

Alex Kacaniklic's deflected strike gave Fulham hope midway through the second half, but that proved to be nothing more than a consolation.

United made five changes from the side that beat Stoke City 3-2 in their last Premier League outing, including Januzaj's deployment on the left wing in place of Shinji Kagawa, while Nemanja Vidic was restored to the defence.

Striker Darren Bent was dropped for Fulham as Iranian midfielder Ashkan Dejagah was handed his first league start of the campaign.

It took United just nine minutes to break the deadlock as Valencia slotted into an unguarded net following neat link-up play between Van Persie and Rooney.

Moyes' men continued to dictate play following the goal, but Fulham twice had chances to level matters as David de Gea denied Dimitar Berbatov from close range.

The hosts were made to pay for their profligacy, though, Van Persie emphatically slamming the ball past Stekelenburg after 20 minutes following a deft pass from Januzaj.

And United put the game beyond all doubt a mere two minutes later as Van Persie turned provider for Rooney after dubiously being ruled onside from Phil Jones' throughball.

Moyes, perhaps not content with a 3-0 lead, brought on Marouane Fellaini, Kagawa and Chris Smalling for Tom Cleverley, Rafael and Jonny Evans at the break.

Fulham made an improved start to the second half and came close to pulling one back when Pajtim Kasami's long-range effort flew just past the right-hand post.

United went close through substitute Fellaini, but Fulham did pull one back 20 minutes into the second half as Kacaniklic cut inside to unleash a fierce effort that deflected off Rooney, giving De Gea no chance.

Substitute Bent hit the bar from close range late on but Jol's men never looked like mounting a miraculous comeback as United moved just two points shy of the top four