Football: Wolves show greater hunger than Manchester United

Joao Moutinho celebrating his 53rd-minute goal against Manchester United with Helder Costa yesterday. Wolverhampton Wanderers had looked nothing like a promoted team, playing confident and composed football and were rewarded with the fine team goal.
Joao Moutinho celebrating his 53rd-minute goal against Manchester United with Helder Costa yesterday. Wolverhampton Wanderers had looked nothing like a promoted team, playing confident and composed football and were rewarded with the fine team goal.PHOTO: REUTERS

Mourinho laments United's lack of aggression while counterpart Santo says this is his side's style

LONDON • Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho admitted that his side did not deserve to leave the pitch with a win after a 1-1 Premier League draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers at home yesterday.

The result also left United eight points adrift of league leaders Liverpool, who beat Southampton 3-0.

"I think the result is fair. They deserved their point and we deserve the punishment of only getting one point," said the Portuguese, as reported by the BBC. "They started better and were more aggressive, had more intent and I don't know why but they were more motivated.

"I was expecting more from my attacking players. There was not enough creativity, movement or dynamism. We made it quite easy for them to cope with our supremacy in the last 20 minutes. Overall we don't deserve more than this."

His team had won their last two league games and took the lead in the 18th minute through Brazilian midfielder Fred, whose first goal for the club came after a sublime short pass from Paul Pogba.

Wolves had looked nothing like a promoted team, playing confident and composed football and they got their reward with a fine team goal. Helder Costa got past Luke Shaw and slipped the ball back to Raul Jimenez who perfectly teed-up Joao Moutinho and the Portuguese midfielder fired into the top corner.

"We have worked hard and with the mentality to have the ball and move it fast," he said. "The result is most important, but if you can play well and win it is better."

CAN'T COMPLAIN

I think the result is fair. They deserved their point and we deserve the punishment of only getting one point. I don't know why but they were more motivated... I was expecting more from my attacking players.

JOSE MOURINHO, Manchester United manager, accepting the result but not his side's effort.

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo added: "We wanted to come here and score because we cannot play any other way."

United pressed on late in the game but there was to be no "Fergie time" goal as their former manager Alex Ferguson watched on from the stands. The 76-year-old Scot made an emotional return to Old Trafford for the first time since he had an emergency brain surgery.

Ferguson, who managed United for 27 years and won an amazing 38 trophies, was left fighting for his life after being rushed to hospital in May. But he has made a good recovery and speaking to MUTV before the kick-off, admitted it was a big moment to be back at the stadium.

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"I'm really good. Obviously it's been a long journey and I'm gradually making steps forward, doing what my son tells me and what the doctors tell me," he said.

In other Premier League matches yesterday, Liverpool continued their impressive start to the season with their convincing win over Southampton at Anfield.

It was the Reds' sixth win out of six league games - the third time they have achieved this feat in their history, after 1978-79, when they finished champions, and 1990-91, when they were runners-up.

Jurgen Klopp's men were up 1-0 as early as the 10th minute via a Wesley Hoedt own goal, before Joel Matip doubled the lead 11 minutes later. Forward Mohamed Salah then ended his two-game goal drought in the league with a goal in first-half stoppage time.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson praised his side's hard work in the win but insisted that they are not taking anything for granted.

"Overall it was a solid performance and a good win and we knew it would be difficult," the England midfielder said.

"But we haven't won anything yet and we've only had a good start and there's a long way to go. We're not getting carried away."

Manchester City, meanwhile, thrashed Cardiff 5-0 in Wales with striker Sergio Aguero marking his new one-year contract extension, which will see him play for City till 2021, with a goal.

Pep Guardiola's side were rampant with goals also coming from Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan and a double from Riyad Mahrez, who netted for the first time for the defending champions.

"We did well, we took the game from the beginning with the right intention and I think we deserved the victory," the Algerian winger said. "I'm very happy to score my first goal for the team. It took a while to arrive but I knew it would come. I will try to help the team as much as I can."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 23, 2018, with the headline 'Wolves show greater hunger'. Print Edition | Subscribe