Saturday 10 December 2016

'We are the unlucky ones' - Jose Mourinho laments lack of fortune as Man United drop two more points

Published 19/11/2016 | 15:27

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

Olivier Giroud's powerful late header secured Arsenal a fortuitous draw as they rode their luck to snatch a point at Manchester United.

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United have spent much of the international break in the headlines, whether for manager Jose Mourinho's treatment of Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw or captain Wayne Rooney's late-night antics when away with England.

Such issues looked to be behind them as Juan Mata gave United a deserved lead, only for substitute Giroud to head home in the 89th minute and grab Arsenal a 1-1 draw. It was their first and only attempt on target.

Mourinho will be furious after United slipped to a third successive home league draw for the first time since 1992, with the extension of his stranglehold over Arsene Wenger counting for little. Wenger has still never beaten a Mourinho side in the league.

It was a remarkable end to a match in which Arsenal were so poor, with the United boss sure to be frustrated by his side's struggles in front of goal and the decision not to award Antonio Valencia a first-half penalty.

Wenger, too, may be unhappy after Matteo Darmian avoided a second booking, although the Arsenal boss was sure to leave Old Trafford far the happier.

United boss Jose Mourinho afterwards insisted his side were "the unluckiest team in the Premier League."

He said: "I'm not going to say they (Arsenal) didn't want to win but they couldn't be the way they normally play football.

"We were phenomenal. From a defensive point of view we pressed and were very strong when we lost the ball and controlled their counter-attacks and their best players.

"We were very comfortable with the ball and played quality football, had a good goal and chances to kill the game.

"Then the only time that we had a situation we couldn't resolve, they scored a goal, so they were the lucky ones and we were the unlucky ones - but that's football."

The Portuguese would not criticise any of his players, pointing to their performance in their last three home games - with draws against Stoke and Burnley preceding Saturday's match.

He said: "We played very well as a team. I don't want to be critical. I'm very happy with the team but at the moment we're the unluckiest team in the Premier League.

"The team are playing well and working really well. I'm happy with the work and happy with the guys and super-happy with the fans - they know how to applaud a team that dropped two games at home, they know how to be fair."

On referee Andre Marriner's decision not to award Antonio Valencia a first-half penalty, Mourinho added: "I don't want to speak about it.

"He is the kind of ref that if he makes mistakes with my team there is no intention. I remember his words before the game, 'I don't want to be seen, I want to do my work the best I can' and he's right - he doesn't want to be a star. He wants to be an honest man and a good ref.

"I know because I've watched on video a few times but I don't want to say whether it was a mistake or not because he is a good ref."

Gunners boss Wenger said: "The result is positive but it was a scrappy game...when you are 1-0 down and come back to 1-1 you are happy.

"We lacked a bit of sharpness today, I don't know what it's down to but we had a good mental response to come back."

Asked if it was perhaps due to poor previous results at Old Trafford, the Frenchman added: "I wondered during the game if it might be that. Honestly you never know.

"Last year's we'd maybe have lost this game so hopefully we can move on and kick on against from now with some wins.

"We've a big game against Paris St Germain and I'm convinced we'll be better on Wednesday night."

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