Football: United still their own worst enemy

Jose Mourinho, who saw a bad error by goalkeeper David de Gea and a Marcos Rojo own goal twice hand the Gunners the lead, believes the mistakes only continued their run of self-inflicted harm.
Jose Mourinho, who saw a bad error by goalkeeper David de Gea and a Marcos Rojo own goal twice hand the Gunners the lead, believes the mistakes only continued their run of self-inflicted harm.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Jose Mourinho accused his Manchester United players of shooting themselves in the foot, after he witnessed his team present Arsenal with two goals in a 2-2 draw on Wednesday that extended their winless Premier League streak to four games.

The United manager, who saw a bad error by goalkeeper David de Gea and a Marcos Rojo own goal twice hand the Gunners the lead, believes the mistakes only continued their run of self-inflicted harm.

"We scored four goals and we drew 2-2," he joked at his post-match press conference.

"Even in matches like today where we play well, we always shoot ourselves.

"Sometimes we miss chances with an open goal, other times defensive mistakes but tonight there was a fantastic spirit.

"Our problem is finding a performance like this without the mistakes we made."

United, who started with Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku on the bench, battled back from Shkodran Mustafi's goal and Rojo's blunder with equalisers from Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard.

But, after a defeat at Manchester City and draws with Crystal Palace and Southampton, United are now 18 points behind leaders City.

United also trail Chelsea and Arsenal, who are now unbeaten in 20 games, by eight points in the battle for a place in the top four.

However, there were at least signs of life at Old Trafford to appease disgruntled United fans.

Alarming statistics ahead of the Red Devils' trip to Southampton last Saturday highlighted how laboured Mourinho's side have been this season, ranking 18th in the league in sprints made during games.

But against Unai Emery's side, United at least showed intensity to make 24 more sprints than Arsenal.

With United pressing high, Arsenal also struggled to find any form of rhythm in the first 20 minutes.

Mourinho remained defiant, insisting that he was "not under siege" despite the poor results.

"No, not at all," he said. "We played against the team that is at the top of their season, a moment where everything goes well for them - a team on a high against a team with so many problems."

De Gea also made crucial late saves to atone for his mistake and deny Arsenal a first league win at Old Trafford since 2006.

"I am proud of my players. We could have won this match, but they equalised very quickly after both our goals," Emery said.

"We controlled the game and if one team deserved to win, we did."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2018, with the headline 'United still their own worst enemy'. Print Edition | Subscribe