CHERRIES ended 2018 with back-to-back Premier League defeats after suffering a 4-1 reverse at Manchester United.

A first-half double from Paul Pogba alongside Marcus Rashford’s goal put Eddie Howe’s men on the back foot at Old Trafford.

The Dorset club responded through Nathan Ake before the interval but were powerless to prevent United sealing three wins on the spin.

Substitute Romelu Lukaku added a fourth for the hosts before they had defender Eric Bailly dismissed 11 minutes from time.

Defeat left Cherries 12th in the top flight at the turn of the year after eight league defeats in the past 10 games.

Diego Rico started his first league fixture since September as Cherries made three changes to the starting XI which had been beaten 5-0 at Tottenham on Boxing Day.

He featured as a left wing-back as boss Howe restored Jordon Ibe and Joshua King to his starting XI and switched to a back three.

Injury victim Simon Francis was out of the squad and Ryan Fraser and Jefferson Lerma dropped to the bench.

United, in their third game under caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, made four alterations. Ashley Young, Bailly, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial were recalled.

And it was United who broke the deadlock after just five minutes through midfielder Pogba.

The former world-record signing was given the simplest of tasks to tap home after Rashford had single-handedly carved out the opportunity.

England star Rashford danced past both Ake and Rico on the right flank before surging into the box. He squared for the World Cup winner, who could not miss from close range.

Rashford looked in the mood to cause havoc. This time drifting inside, he sent a powerful effort at goal after Pogba’s cushioned header, only for the strike to be deflected wide off Ake.

A big chance then came for the visitors on 26 minutes.

David Brooks’s corner was met by the leaping Ake, whose header ricocheted against the inside of Herrera’s leg before cannoning off keeper David De Gea and away to safety.

But 12 minutes before the break, Pogba netted his second. After good build-up down the right once more, the Frenchman rose highest to head Herrera’s cross into the net.

Cherries sought to respond. King was allowed to control and volley after Cook’s long throw and let fly with a rasping effort which was beaten away by Spanish stopper De Gea.

And United added a third to put daylight between the sides. Having sprung the offside trap, Anthony Martial’s delightful cross with the outside of his boot was turned in by Rashford at the far post.

Cherries kept plugging away, however, and pulled a goal back in first-half stoppage time.

After a short corner fell to Brooks, the Welsh international found room to stand up the ball for Ake, who powered a header into the net from close range.

Dutchman Ake then showed his class at the other end following the break, blocking Herrera’s strike from an acute angle.

After Asmir Begovic had thwarted Rashford once more, Howe tried to freshen up the contest from the bench, with Fraser and Lys Mousset introduced in place of Callum Wilson and Brooks.

The visitors almost pulled back another 20 minutes from time. Steve Cook’s searching ball from deep was gathered by King and having pulled the trigger, the former United youngster’s strike clipped Bailly and fell wide.

But it was game over for Cherries on 72 minutes as substitute Lukaku made it 4-1. The powerful Belgian appeared in an offside position after running on to Pogba’s through ball but smashed past Begovic to seal all three points.

A sublime stop from the Bosnian then denied Pogba his hat-trick. Begovic got down well to tip the Frenchman’s low drive on to the post.

With the game wrapped up, the Red Devils were reduced to 10 men. A late lunge from Bailly on Fraser meant referee Lee Mason brandished a red card.

And Cherries’ afternoon got worse when goalscorer Ake appeared to pick up a knock and came off with eight minutes remaining.


Cherries: Begovic; S Cook, Ake (Mings, 80), Daniels; Ibe, Stanislas, Brooks (Mousset, 65), Surman, Rico; King, Wilson (Fraser, 65).

Unused subs: Simpson, Lerma, Defoe, Boruc (g/k).

United: De Gea; Young, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Herrera (Pereira, 76), Matic, Pogba; Lingard, Rashford (Lukaku, 70), Martial (Jones, 80).

Unused subs: Jones, Mata, Fellaini, Darmian, Romero (g/k).

Booked: Herrera, Young.

Sent off: Bailly.

Referee: Lee Mason.

Attendance: 74,556.