Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues his scoring run in victory over Southampton

The Swede struck twice to give Manchester United a 2-0 win

Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic,

Image: Nick Potts / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Jose Mourinho will be pleased with another strong performance from his Manchester United side as they beat Southampton 2-0 in front of their home fans on Friday night. 

Both goals came courtesy of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who continued his fine scoring run in red with a strong header in the first half, before adding the second from the penalty spot after the break. 

The Swede was awarded the Man of the Match award for his performance, but the most notable aspect to the game was not the flood lights on a Friday night, but rather the atmosphere in the ground.

There was an air of confidence about the way that Mourinho's side went about their game that has largely been absent in recent times, and they looked to move from defence to attack with speed. When they went forward, the crowd sensed that there was a real danger, given the plethora of attacking talent and Ibrahimovic leading the line. 

His first goal was a brilliant header from a well-placed Wayne Rooney cross, and he showed that there's nothing wrong with his explosive power as he rose highest to direct a header into the bottom corner. 

He added another from the spot after Luke Shaw went down in the box. The decision will certainly be seen as harsh, as Jordy Clasie made little if any contact with the 21-year-old, who appeared to trip over his own feet and hit the ground, but Clasie had reached out to attempt to slow him down, allowing the referee to make a call.

Paul Pogba's first appearance since his return didn't yield a goal, but he did display some nice touches and a good range of passing in patches. That has been an issue for the Frenchman, who can sometimes go missing in important games, but as he still looks to generate a rhythm and click with the rest of his team-mates, that is likely to still be a frustration for the next while.

Image: Nick Potts / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Southampton did have some opportunities to attack, and Shane Long fluffed his lines on a good chance after being played through on a counter-attack in the first half that would have tested the resolve of Mourinho's side. However, instead of opting to take on Eric Bailly, he tried to shoot from distance and produced a weak effort that failed to trouble David de Gea.

In the end the defensive organisation that has been so typical of Mourinho sides in the past was enough to force Southampton to mainly strike from distance, meaning that Long's effort was the only one on target that they produced throughout the entire game.

They had more of the ball, and more passes than Mourinho's side, but were frustrated by the lack of space and were forced to shuttle the ball from side to side around the box. 

Image:  Jon Super / AP/Press Association Images

Claude Puel is still trying to instill a style to his team, but their lack of attacking prowess also showed in tonight's game. It's too early to panic, but given that they controlled the possession at Old Trafford and still came away well beaten, they will need to work a lot harder to make the most of their time on the ball as the season wears on.

One thing is for sure, there's a renewed air of optimism and excitement about this Manchester United team, and it will certainly be easier for Mourinho to convince the big stars in the dressing room to make the necessary sacrifices if the wins keep coming as they have.