Monday 10 December 2018

'There are things I can’t get from them' - Jose Mourinho rues Man United's defensive lapses in Arsenal draw

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Arsenal - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - December 5, 2018 Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho reacts Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine.
Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Arsenal - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - December 5, 2018 Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho reacts Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine.
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Jose Mourinho accused his players of 'shooting themselves' after they conceded soft goals in a 2-2 draw against Arsenal at Old Trafford, as he admitted he is unable to get certain qualities out of this current squad of players.

A much-changed United team saw Mourinho drop Paul Pogba or Romelu Lukaku to the bench and while they twice came from behind to snatch a point, Mourinho admitted there was a lack of quality in areas of his team.

While he hailed the battling qualities of his players, he suggested there were aspects of the game that he is not able to extract from his current set of players, as he hinted his side's defensive frailties cannot be solved with this set of players.

"It is positive, but there are things I can’t get from them and I can’t say more than this," Mourinho told BT Sport. "They had big soul, everyone gave everything and that’s a good thing. That’s for sure and that’s a good thing.

"It was open because they scored the second goal. We shoot ourselves so many times during the season it is really difficult. As always we made mistakes and we paid for the mistakes.

"Some good performances. (Diogo) Dalot first start, (Marcos) Rojo not had games, (Matteo) Darmian the third start, Bailly doesn’t play for couple of months, (Chris) Smalling a brave guy to play with such difficulties.

"We made two big mistakes for the goals, we allowed them to have counter attacks, easy passes that we lost, easy controls that we lost, things that at the high level you normally don’t do it.

"Then the whole performance is marked by these ups and downs. The second goal comes in an awful moment for a team that was on top of the game at this moment.

When pressed on what he meant by a lack of quality in his side, he side-stepped the question as he stated: "I cannot tell you much more, I prefer to say I am happy with the soul and the commitment and bravery I’m really happy with that."

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Manchester United's Jesse Lingard scores their second goal. Photo: Darren Staples/Reuters

Mourinho went on to claim his current United team should not be compared to the club's great teams of the past, in comments that may not be welcomed by his squad.

"I have to disagree with people who try to compare this to teams of Roy Keane, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Nemanja Vidic, give us a break and time," he added. "I am happy with the soul and heart, but we are not consistent and uniform.

"Today was more the same, but with great spirit and people ready to have a go and fight hard, it was a credit to the team.

"They went to the limit and were really tired. Some of them had not played all season, Chris Smalling playing in very difficult condition, but Arsenal were only dangerous when we lost the ball in bad areas.

"This is a performance of big soul and heart, Rashford, just to give a name, gave everything for the shirt. But even from our bench you could feel the little panic when the ball comes to our defensive third."

Arsenal boss Unai Emery accepted his side's defending needs to improve as they allowed United to come back into the game after forging ahead.

"I think we controlled the game, the second half better than the first. We could have won this match in certain moments, but they equalised very quickly after both our goals," he said.

"We need to improve defensively, but we need to have balance and not lose our attacking chances.

"We perhaps lost a bit of control there but we created lots of chances after 2-2 and I am very proud of our performance. We wanted to win but we can feel this point is good.

"Sead Kolasinac came off with his head down but I said to him he had a very good match in attack and you have to be positive and learn from this match."

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