Tuesday 26 September 2017

Mourinho admits confidence is low as United drop points again

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says some of his players have low confidence
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says some of his players have low confidence

Jose Mourinho says some of his Manchester United players are troubled by a lack of confidence after their 1-1 draw against Everton saw them drop more Premier League points at Old Trafford.

Phil Jagielka gave Everton the lead midway through the first half but United's pressure eventually paid off in added time when Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted a penalty.

The result extended United's unbeaten run in the Premier League to 20 games but it was their ninth stalemate at home this season - the most in the top flight.

United have won just once at home in the league in 2017, with the likes of West Brom, Bournemouth and Hull each taking a point away from the Theatre of Dreams since the turn of the year.

And Mourinho was left frustrated, despite Ibrahimovic's late intervention, with United languishing four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City with nine games to play.

Mourinho, speaking to BT Sport 1, said: "The performance was not very good.

"The spirit in the second half was phenomenal, but with some players really in trouble - some by the physical point of view, some others clearly with the confidence levels low.

"It was deja vu in many things, but I have to admit we played better football than in some other matches. We had a few chances. We hit the post as always. The opponent goalkeeper played very well as always."

The Portuguese refused to criticise the officials for disallowing an Ibrahimovic header in the second half, with replays proving inconclusive as to whether the Swede was offside.

Mourinho added: "With the VAR (video assistant referees) we win this game 2-1 because it is not offside.

"It is a difficult one for the linesman, I am not critical of him at all, I just say when the VAR comes it will help everyone, especially them."

The Toffees took the lead midway through the first half through Jagielka, who hooked home Ashley Williams' flick-on from a Kevin Mirallas corner.

United almost levelled from Daley Blind's free-kick but Joel Robles did well to keep it out and then watched on as Ander Herrera hit the bar from the rebound.

Substitute Paul Pogba also struck the crossbar with a header from Ashley Young's free-kick but Ibrahimovic's penalty - after a handball which saw Williams sent off - salvaged a point.

"I think we deserved a little bit more," said Ibrahimovic. "We conceded our goal by a mistake, their goal came out of nothing.

"We cannot afford these mistakes, they are very important points, especially when the table is like it is.

"At the end we equalised. We were attacking for most of the game, we had good chances, but we have to do more."

Everton fell to a 3-1 defeat in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool on Saturday but Toffees boss Ronald Koeman was satisfied with his side's response despite the "painful" end to the game.

Koeman said: "I'm pleased. I was proud of the team (after the Liverpool game) and I'm still proud.

"Our defending was terrific, it was really painful how we don't win the game. Yes, it was a penalty, but one minute before the end of the game it is always really painful.

"I was really confident in our defending, but (we needed to be) a little bit more clever maybe in the final pass because we got a lot of space."

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