Champions Chelsea back on winning trail
Chelsea responded to the departure of Jose Mourinho by surging to a 3-1 victory against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League yesterday, while Manchester United lost their second game in a row at home against Norwich.
Chelsea supporters repeatedly sang Mourinho's name as Branislav Ivanovic, Pedro Rodriguez and Oscar scored in an unexpectedly convincing victory.
Mourinho's second spell at Chelsea came to an end on Thursday after the Premier League champions had lost nine of the first 16 league games of the season under his guidance.
But the Chelsea supporters made it clear they felt that responsibility for the woeful start lay with the players.
As Ivanovic headed in after five minutes and Pedro doubled the lead on 13, the vocal support for Mourinho was replaced with abusive chants directed at Chelsea's men.
Oscar got the third, a penalty, after half time, before Fabio Borini pulled one back for Sunderland.
After the match, captain John Terry said he understood why supporters are unhappy.
"Absolutely, and rightly so, as well," Terry said. "They will support us through the difficult period and when we come out on top, sooner or later. If we keep on putting performances like that the fans will be happy."
In Manchester, Cameron Jerome and Alexander Tettey netted in each half as Norwich stunned United by recording a first win at Old Trafford since 1989.
Anthony Martial pulled one back for United in the 66th minute, the team's first shot on target, but Van Gaal's side managed only one more attempt that required a save.
Van Gaal's side has not won in six games and his position as manager could be under more scrutiny now that Mourinho is available.
"We know that it (losing to Norwich) is not good enough for us," Van Gaal told Sky Sports. "The players know that, I know that, the fans know that, and the board knows that."
When asked if he thinks he has the backing of the United board, Van Gaal said "I think so, but you never know."
Meanwhile, surprise Premier League leaders Leicester beat Everton 3-2. Riyad Mahrez scored two penalties for Leicester before Shinji Okazaki got the decisive goal, while Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas scored for Everton.
The result means Leicester will be top of the Premier League on Christmas Day on 38 points. Last year, they were bottom of the standings on December 25.
Tottenham beat Southampton 2-0 at St Mary's stadium to move fourth, above United.
Two goals in three first-half minutes from Harry Kane, on his 100th Tottenham appearance, and Dele Alli gave manager Mauricio Pochettino a win against his former club.
Tottenham moves fourth, above United on superior goal difference.
Other results: Stoke City 1, Crystal Palace 2, West Bromwich 1, Bournemouth 2, Newcastle 1, Aston Villa 1.