Mourinho: “I have to admit we played better football in some other matches”

Manchester United were held to yet another draw at home to Everton in the Premier League. The visitors opened the scoring through Phil Jagielka in the 22nd minute after a mistake from David De Gea not coming to collect the ball from the cross, Jagielka scored by sticking his leg out from an Ashley Williams header, with his back to the goal, beating the Spaniard. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was United’s saviour yet again in his first game back a three-match suspension. The Swede scored from the spot in the 94th minute after Williams handled the ball in the box, receiving a red card for stopping a goal scoring opportunity. Manchester United dropped another two points at home after the 0-0 draw with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday afternoon. United have drawn twelve times in the Premier League this season, three of those away from home; (two 1-1 draws and one 0-0 draw). Nine have been at Old Trafford (six 1-1 draws and three 0-0 draws).

Paul Pogba came on at half-time and changed the game in a sense, where United had the ball a lot more, but were not creating many chances, like they should be. The players were rushing when it came to the end product. Luke Shaw and Henrik Mkhitaryan came on for Ashley Young and Michael Carrick inside the 65th minute but did not really change anything in all fairness. Same old United failing to take their chances and dropping crucial points at home, which has happened nine times this season just at Old Trafford. United travel to Sunderland on Sunday to face David Moyes’ relegation-threatened side, who are in a more precarious position than they have been over recent seasons. United need to be taking all three points, or the advantage they find themselves in at this moment in time, will soon be taken away leaving Jose Mourinho’s side to put all their eggs in one basket and aim to win the UEFA Europa League.

Jose Mourinho on Luke Shaw, who he criticised this week, had a reported crisis meeting with the player, and put him back into his squad against Everton. Shaw played 25 minutes, but the manager still felt that something was needed from him. Mourinho was speaking to Shaw on the pitch at Old Trafford and decided to share the conversation with the media after the match, he said:

“I tell you because I told him already: he had a good performance which was his body with my brain. Because he was in front of me and I was making every decision for him.

“And the communication was possible because we were very close but I was thinking for him. When to close inside, when to open, when to go in there, when to press the opponent.

“I was making every decision for him and at this level we need the fantastic body he has to play football, the fantastic physical qualities he has, the very good technical ability he has but he cannot play with my understanding of the game, he must understand the game, he must think and he must accelerate the process because 21-years-old is old enough to have a better understanding of the game.

“But his contribution was good, he improved the team, he gave us immediately after 30 seconds he was in a scoring position or an assist position. It was good for him, he goes today with a positive feeling because his performance was very positive and I’m happy with what he gave us.”

Mourinho spoke about Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who saw a perfectly fine, or at least it looked like that, goal disallowed for being offside, then scored a last-minute penalty to level the score. The manager said:

“We start going through the wings and putting the ball in the box and one cross one goal, disallowed. Wrong, but I repeat I don’t have a bad feeling at all because it was a difficult one for the linesman.

“So I’m not disappointed in him at all and I told him that already, no problem for me.

“We had more chances and we hit the post, Zlatan had a free header over the bar and we tried everything and the goal arrived, so we know by the points point of view it is not so important, zero point or one point, it doesn’t make a huge difference.

“But it’s a good feeling for the boys not to lose.”

Mourinho also gave his overall reflection of the result, the second draw at Old Trafford in three days, this time being able to find the back of the net. He said:

“The performance was not very good but the spirit in the second half was phenomenal. And with some players really in trouble, some by the physical point of view, some others clearly with the confidence levels low and difficult to perform better. They fought until the last second and with a VAR, we win this game 2-1 because it was not an offside.”

Mourinho has no criticism of the match officials, perhaps he has learned not to speak about his frustrations in public, saving that for a more private area where he will not be hung, drawn and quartered y the media, ahead of a witch hunt by the Football Association. Mourinho said:

“It was a difficult one for the linesman. I am not a critic of him at all. When the VAR comes, it will help everyone, especially them, especially the linesmen and the referees. If they (the video assistant referee) has any doubts, then the advantage should go to the team that attacks. From what I saw just now on the computer, it was not an offside but they are the experts. But even so, if there is a big doubt, it is a goal. But again, I repeat I’m not at all a critic of the linesman, not at all. I just think it will be welcomed by everyone, especially them because for them it’s not good when they make mistakes, even little ones like this one.”

Mourinho also spoke about the deja vu feeling at home with United drawing their ninth match this season, nearly half of all matches played there in the Premier League. He said:

“I have deja vu in many things but I have to admit we played better football in some other matches. Did we have chances? Yes. Not a dozen, a few. Did we hit the post as always? Yes. Did the opponent goalkeeper play very well as always? Yes. Did one decision go against us? Yes but I want to repeat again, I don’t want to blame him. Was the opponent ultra defensive as always? Yes but we didn’t play very well. We had some players in trouble, especially by the confidence point of view. Some guys are suffering a little bit. But the spirit was good, the pride was there, the Manchester United way of fighting was there, especially in the second half that followed a first half that was not good at all.”

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