Friday 28 April 2017

Mourinho worried home form could cost Manchester United top-four place

Jose Mourinho is concerned by Manchester United's stuttering form at Old Trafford this season
Jose Mourinho is concerned by Manchester United's stuttering form at Old Trafford this season

Jose Mourinho is concerned that Manchester United's Old Trafford struggles could cost them Champions League qualification.

Stoke, Burnley, Arsenal, West Ham, Liverpool, Hull and Bournemouth have all left the north-west with a point this season.

No team has drawn as many home games this term and the inability to turn dominance into victories leaves United three points off a Champions League berth.

The Europa League offers another route back to the continent's top table, but Mourinho knows they can ill afford any more Old Trafford setbacks like Saturday's 1-1 draw with 10-man Bournemouth.

Asked if he is worried home form will cost United a top-four place, he retorted: "Of course, of course.

"If you look at the points we lost at home - I don't speak about the Man City match - all the other matches we drew.

"If you accumulate these points, you are talking about 10 or 12 and with these points we are not just speaking about the top four, we would be speaking about the top two or top one.

"We lost too many points at home and obviously cost us our position.

"Are we dead in relation to the top four? No, we are not dead. We are not dead.

"There are matches to play, points to win, points to lose, points to fight for. We are not dead.

"But the reality is that we are losing too many points at home."

Premier League games at Old Trafford have taken an all too familiar theme this term, with a lack of cutting edge seeing United fail to translate dominance into victories.

Saturday was the fourth time in the league this season that United have managed 20 or more shots at goal without winning and Mourinho knows that is costing his side.

"The old story of create lots of chances but not score goals is an old story but applies perfectly to our football in these matches at home against Hull, Burnley, Bournemouth, Stoke," he said.

"It is more of the same. We play well, we start well. We have one chance in the first minute, we have another in the third or fifth minute. We accumulate and the goalkeeper gets confidence.

"The goalkeeper is the man of the match and so on, and so on, and so on. It is more of the same.

"We need to score goals. Other teams with less chances, they score goals.

"Against Southampton in the (EFL Cup) final, I think with five chances we score three goals and (against Bournemouth) with more than 10, we score one goal."

The draw will be compounded if Zlatan Ibrahimovic is hit with retrospective Football Association action for an elbow on Tyrone Mings, who could also face sanctions for a stamp he claims was unintentional.

Those incidents, along with Andrew Surman's sending off, overshadowed a memorable draw for Bournemouth, which was a timely shot in the arm after such a poor start to 2017.

"It was an eventful game, a lot of action, but from our point of view it was an incredible effort and a fantastic achievement to come here and come away with a point," assistant Jason Tindall said with manager Eddie Howe ill.

"We had something to hold onto coming into the second half. We've done a lot of work on the training ground this week in terms of our structure and defensive shape.

"I've got to say that the lads went out there and executed that extremely well.

"Every single player's gone out there and shown a level effort and that's the only reason we've come away with a point."

Press Association

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