Bore draw

> Mour­inho happy but faces pres­sure af­ter An­field stale­mate <

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

JOSE MOUR­INHO could not help sound­ing a lit­tle smug about dent­ing the hype sur­round­ing Liver­pool when he said his Manch­ester United team had shown that Juer­gen Klopp’s high fly­ers were not “the last won­der of the world” yes­ter­day.

Yet af­ter a 0-0 draw in the Pre­mier League at An­field, low on qual­ity and high on yawns, the sat­is­fied Spe­cial One might just as well have re­flected on the lack of star­dust sprin­kled by his own ex­pen­sive won­ders, who of­fered just one shot on tar­get in a game to for­get.

United held Klopp’s at­trac­tive side with rel­a­tive com­fort, thanks to the tac­ti­cal ex­cel­lence of his sti­fling set-up and a cou­ple of blind­ing saves from David de Gea yet they of­fered pre­cious lit­tle in at­tack­ing in­ven­tion and cre­ation.

Their two mega-sign­ings of the

Manch­ester United goal­keeper David De Gea (No. 1) makes the first fi­first of his two won­der saves against Liver­pool dur­ing their Pre­mier League match at An­field An­fi­field yes­ter­day. close sea­son, Paul Pogba and Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic, com­bined for their best mo­ment, only for the Swede’s close-range header from the French­man’s cross to bum­ble harm­lessly across goal.

This summed up United’s blunt edge and left one of their dis­tin­guished old boys, former Eng­land full­back Gary Neville, watch­ing from the Sky Sports stu­dio, to opine: “I don’t think this team are ready to win the league.

“They don’t have the qual­ity to counter-at­tack at pace.”

Mour­inho, though, was adamant: “We con­trolled the game not just tac­ti­cally but the emo­tion of the game. That was prob­a­bly the qui­etest An­field I had and I was ex­pect­ing it to be the other way. I think it was a pos­i­tive per­for­mance.”

He reck­oned the Bri­tish me­dia had been swoon­ing about Liver­pool’s form and de­clared: “They are not the last won­der of the world like you like to say they are.

“Peo­ple ex­pected us to come here and be re­ally in trou­ble, which we were not.”

Yet United did not cre­ate much trou­ble for Klopp’s side ei­ther and, still ly­ing sev­enth in the league with plenty of en­ter­pris­ing qual­ity above them, they will be ex­pected to de­liver some­thing more con­vinc­ing in their two other big dates this week.

They host Fener­bahce in the Europa League to­mor­row be­fore Mour­inho has his fas­ci­nat­ing re­turn on Sun­day to the Chelsea den where he was once wor­shipped.

Pedes­trian per­for­mances there could raise fresh ques­tions about a man­ager who is al­ready look­ing at the low­est points to­tal he has gleaned at any new club af­ter his first eight league games since his early days as a novice boss in Por­tu­gal.

Klopp, hav­ing to set­tle for his part for only the se­cond goalless draw be­tween the sides in the Pre­mier League an­nals, con­ceded that Mour­inho had been a mas­ter of the de­fen­sive arts again.

“That kind of de­fence is dif­fi­cult to play. The man-mark­ing is re­ally dif­fi­cult, they are stronger than us.

“I am not frus­trated but I am not happy with the per­for­mance. No-one will show this game in 10 or 20 years but we could have played bet­ter.”

The Ger­man was left with ques­tions of his own as Daniel Stur­ridge’s dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance must have made him won­der again where ex­actly the Eng­land striker fits into his high­press­ing at­tack. – Reuters

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