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What Was Said: Mourinho rues result but a point is a point!

Manchester United’s 100% record in the Premier League has been ended just four matches into the season. The first three matches saw United win all three, scored ten goals and conceded none. The international break drove a wedge into the season which commenced again this weekend. United have been winless in Stoke for some time now, which still does not change today. United conceded their first goal of the season after Maxim Choupo-Moting scored close to the end of the first half, United levelling the score through Marcus Rashford a minute into stoppage time.

In the 57th minute of the match, United took the lead through Romelu Lukaku, with Choupo-Moting scoring his second goal to level the score, which is where it ended for United. This is an improvement over a year ago where United fell to a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City in the first match after the international break and United still sit at the top of the Premier League table, albeit on goal difference. United manager Jose Mourinho spoke to the media after United’s first draw of the season, settling for the result in which he stated, “a point is a point”. Mourinho said:

“It was a difficult match for different reasons. My players, after the international break, are not the same. They weren’t performing at their normal level but we were in the game, we fought hard and we were closer to winning than losing. Stoke are big, strong and powerful in the air. They fought hard and probably deserved a point. It is not what we came for but a point is a point. The performance was more than enough for the point and enough for the three points.”

Mourinho also spoke about the international break and how it could have played a part in the result at the bet365 Stadium, saying:

“It was easy for me to feel that national teams leave a stamp on the players – they are not so fast, they are not so creative, they are not so sharp, they are not so strong, so ready, so focused from the mental point of view. Fifteen days away, playing two matches, travelling, some not playing, training, who knows why and how. It was easy to feel that some of the players were not in their best shape and the opponent is always a difficult opponent to play. The characteristics that the stadium gives to the football matches is always hard here. Could we win? Of course we could. We made a big mistake for the second goal and missed a couple of chances but it’s a result that I accept.”

Mourinho also spoke about being happy with his player’s character, saying:

“It’s not easy to come from behind here, especially with the handicap of the players’ condition. [Nemanja] Matic played the game of his life for the national team, some of the boys played two consecutive matches in three days. Eric Bailly arrived yesterday to train and to travel. The national teams make it normally difficult for us, so I’m not disappointed. I’m not disappointed at all.”

The manager confirmed that his Manchester United side tried to win the match, saying:

“We tried, we were the only team that tried to do it in the last 20 minutes. But they defended, they were lucky with some late rebounds in front of the goal. Maybe Romelu [Lukaku] could have had a better contact with the ball and score with the cross from the right but that’s the result and there’s nothing we can do now but try to be ready for Tuesday [against Basel].”

Mourinho is pleased with his £75 million signing Romelu Lukaku after he scored his fifth goal of the season for the Red Devils, saying:

“I’m happy with Lukaku with or without goals because his contribution is always good. With one more goal we win 3-2 but without the mistake at the corner then we win 2-1 and Lukaku’s miss doesn’t matter. That was a great save by David De Gea – the only one he did, because in the first half there was only a couple of slow shots by Xherdan Shaqiri. But we couldn’t protect the corner and he was punished, we were punished.”

The Portuguese manager also spoke about Stoke’s battling in the encounter, confirming:

“No, I’m not satisfied with a point because we were the team closer to winning. I have to say it is a result I accept though. One team tried to win, one team tried to get the point but they fought hard to get that point – they defended well, they counter-attacked and in set-pieces they are powerful.”

United will need to get ready for their next match, their UEFA Champions League group stage opener against FC Basel on Tuesday evening at Old Trafford. Next weekend they will entertain Everton and the return to Wayne Rooney to Old Trafford before taking on Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup the following week. These next three matches are important for United, as they will define the season. Getting three points on the board in the Champions League is important as it did not go that way in the competition the last time, with Luke Shaw suffering that double leg fracture and last season the club falling to defeat in the UEFA Europa League at the hands of Feyenoord. United needed to see the lead slip away from their grasp today, it will help the determination of a long and tough season where United will see the same on occasion, knowing how to change it and aiming to do so.

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