Manchester, Thursday @PeopleSports11
Jose Mourinho accused his Manchester United players of shooting themselves in the foot as he saw his under-strength team gift Arsenal two goals in a 2-2 draw that extended their winless Premier League run to four games.
United, who started with Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku on the bench, showed great spirit to twice come back, with equalisers from Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard earning a much-needed point.
But, after a defeat at Manchester City and dispiriting draws with Crystal Palace and Southampton, United are now 18 points behind leaders City and actually closer to the relegation positions than they are first place.
United also trail Chelsea and Arsenal, who are now unbeaten in 20 games, by eight points in the battle for a place in the top four.
And Mourinho, who saw a bad David de Gea error and Marcos Rojo own goal twice hand Arsenal the lead, believes the performance continued their run of self-inflicted harm. “We scored four goals and we drew 2-2,” joked Mourinho.
“But we scored four goals and even in matches like today where we play well, we always shoot ourselves.
“Sometimes we miss chances with an open goal, other times defensive mistakes but tonight there was a fantastic spirit, good performances.
“Our problem is finding a performance like this without the mistakes we made and we had very good performances where we make mistakes and we are always punished.”
Mourinho’s frustration was especially understandable given that Arsenal’s opening goal, after 26 minutes, featured that rarest of collector’s items, a mistake by his Spanish international goalkeeper David de Gea.
Chris Smalling slipped at Lucas Torreira’s 26th minute corner, allowing Mustafi the space to send a free header bouncing into the ground and goalwards.
It looked a routine save for United’s number one but he succeeded only in pushing the ball into the air, two-handed, over his own head and over the goalline, despite Ander Herrera’s desperation clearance.
But United responded within four minutes as Rojo, playing for the first time this season, unleashed a terrific free kick which Bernd Leno kept out at the foot of his left-hand post.