Friday 9 December 2016

'Our best performance of the season' - Jose Mourinho claims Man United should have hit Stoke for six

Rory Dollard

Published 02/10/2016 | 15:55

Manchester United's Ander Herrera and manager Jose Mourinho at the end of the match
Manchester United's Ander Herrera and manager Jose Mourinho at the end of the match

Jose Mourinho felt his Manchester United side could have beaten Stoke 6-0 and was frustrated to have to settle for stalemate at Old Trafford.

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United were dominant over the 90 minutes but wasteful finishing - and a revelatory performance from on-loan goalkeeper Lee Grant - meant substitute Anthony Martial's superb second-half curler was their only goal of the game.

That left them vulnerable in the game's closing stages and Joe Allen smashed home from point-blank range to seal a hit-and-run by the visitors, who moved off the foot of the Premier League with a third point of the season.

United had opportunities late on in the 1-1 draw, not least when Paul Pogba, wayward on several occasions in each half, headed against the crossbar from a couple of yards.

Mourinho improbably declared it United's best showing of the season but was left to rue the final score.

"I'm happy with the performance but when the result should be 5-0 or 6-0 and it is 1-1 then the happiness disappears," he said.

"I think it was our best performance in terms of the football we played, the creation of chances, the consistency.

"In this moment it should not be just three points but a fat result.

"From minute one everything was beautiful. The first chance, the one Paul missed, was beautiful football.

"In the second half he hits the post (crossbar), the save down low in the corner...beautiful football.

"I'm very frustrated but the performance was there."

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On the imprecise finishing, Mourinho added: "I never criticise my players for missing chances. Their goalkeeper was man of the match, deservedly."

Allen gave a fine display in the middle of the park and was a fitting scorer, belting home from two yards, when the Potters finally caught United on the break.

Allen told BT Sport: "When you come to Old Trafford you are not going to get many chances. It's a well-earned point for us.

"You can see the effort. We have not been picking up many points but you can see the effort."

Asked about a nasty-looking challenge he received from Ander Herrera, for which the Spaniard earned a seemingly lenient yellow card, former Liverpool man Allen added: "Sometimes they get sent off, sometimes they don't."

Mark Hughes, whose personal record at his former club leaves plenty of room for improvement, hailed his fellow Welshman's impact.

"Joe was immense and he's been excellent since he came to the club," said Stoke manager Hughes.

"I knew I was getting a good player, clearly because I spent £13million on him, but sometimes you don't understand how good a player is until they're in the building and you work with them day in, day out.

"He's an intelligent player, great energy levels and good awareness of situations. He knows how to affect situations, so we've got an excellent player."

On Herrera's foul, and his own player's low-key reaction, Hughes said: "At the time I thought it was mistimed to say the least. Credit to Joe, he didn't make a meal of it."

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