José Mour­inho ‘not un­der siege’ af­ter Manch­ester United draw again

The Guardian Australia - - Sport - Jamie Jack­son at Old Traf­ford

José Mour­inho in­sisted he was “not un­der siege” but was still left frus­trated by Manch­ester United’s 2-2 draw with Arse­nal at Old Traf­ford, say­ing his team had yet again been their own worst en­e­mies.

The man­ager had gone into the game un­der pres­sure fol­low­ing their tame 2-2 draw at Southamp­ton and the open­ing up of an eight-point gap with Arse­nal for the fi­nal Cham­pi­ons League place. It is now four league games with­out a win for United, but Mour­inho was de­fi­ant when he was asked about that record on Tues­day night.

“No, not un­der siege, not at all,” he said. “I feel that is a mo­ment where we play against the team that is at the top of their sea­son, a mo­ment where ev­ery­thing goes well for them – clearly a team on a high against a team with so many prob­lems and the top of these prob­lems dur­ing foot­ball matches [is] we [vir­tu­ally] shoot our­selves.

“To­day we had a very good start. In the sec­ond half Arse­nal was try­ing to stop the game, get one in­jury here and there. They were try­ing to re­duce the in­ten­sity of the game, we score the sec­ond goal for them and then it is again 2-1. But the re­al­ity is in the last four matches we didn’t lose but had bad re­sults apart from Young Boys [won 1-0 in in­jury time]. The three draws were three bad re­sults and be­fore that we lost against Manch­ester City.”

Arse­nal’s opener was due to a David De Gea howler that al­lowed Shko­dran Mustafi’s weak 26th-minute header through. An­thony Mar­tial equalised on the half hour be­fore Alexan­dre La­cazette re­stored the vis­i­tors’ lead, the goal com­ing af­ter Mar­cos Rojo al­lowed Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan to steal posses­sion.

Mour­inho praised the “soul” of his side but hinted his play­ers lack the req­ui­site qual­ity. “The boys left their soul, they left what they have. When some­times peo­ple speak about the qual­ity …” he said, be­fore trail­ing off.

Asked about their com­mit­ment, the man­ager added: “It’s a pos­i­tive sign but there are things that I can­not get from them, and I can­not say much more than this. But big soul, every­body gives ev­ery­thing. That is for sure and that is a pos­i­tive feel­ing.

“I can­not tell you much more. I pre­fer just to say that I’m happy with the soul, the com­mit­ment, the brav­ery. I’m re­ally happy with that. Our prob­lem is [we need] a per­for­mance like this with­out the mis­takes we made.”

Mour­inho said An­thony Mar­tial had limped off as a pre­cau­tion in the sec­ond half while Unai Emery, the man­ager’s Arse­nal coun­ter­part, said the prob­lem that forced Rob Hold­ing off be­fore the in­ter­val was “a big in­jury – his knee”. Aaron Ram­sey, who was also sub­sti­tuted, had a mi­nor an­kle in­jury.

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