'The shackles are off' - Man United players are free again without Mourinho, says Owen

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The Red Devils enjoyed a welcome return to form at the weekend as they put five goals past Cardiff away from home

Former Manchester United forward Michael Owen feels that the departure of Jose Mourinho has been a breath of fresh air around the club, and that the more relaxed atmosphere was reflected in Saturday's drubbing of Cardiff City.

A double from Jesse Lingard added to Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial's goals as United ran riot in a 5-1 victory in south Wales.

That win meant Solskjaer, who replaced the sacked Mourinho on an interim basis, enjoyed the perfect start on the bench for the Red Devils, who also cut the deficit behind fourth-placed Chelsea to eight points.

Mourinho's final months at United were marred by reported rifts with players and poor results, and Owen believes that his sacking has given the club a new lease of life.

"It’s not that you don’t want to put a huge amount of praise on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he’s obviously had an immediate impact, but he can’t have done much in such a short period of time." Owen said to BT Sport

"It’s basically the shackles are now off and people can express themselves, people are actually smiling within the club now.

"That makes all the difference to anybody's performance."

Wayne Rooney also praised the Norwegian's impact, while also alluding to the toxic atmosphere that accompanied Mourinho's last days.

"They looked a bit restricted. The players have got a lot of ability, and today we’ve seen that," he said.

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"Playing for Manchester United, it’s a lot of pressure and a lot of things were happening around the team, around the manager, which is never easy to deal with as a player.

"I think the players have just got that freedom. Ole has given them that as well. You’ve seen what they can do. I think today was a fantastic day for the club."

United continue their Premier League campaign on December 26, hosting Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford.

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