José Mourinho’s frustration at West Brom’s spoiling tactics spilled over as he branded a BBC reporter’s question “silly” following what was Manchester United’s eighth draw at Old Trafford.
With the defeat to Manchester City it is now 19 points ceded by Mourinho’s team at home this season. Factor in Liverpool’s earlier win to leave United six points behind Jürgen Klopp’s men – with two matches in hand – and this was not a happy day for the manager.
Tony Pulis’s side were particularly negative, so when asked if United and West Brom were of a similar level Mourinho said: “You think the game was equal? I can smile win, lose or draw. I am sorry to say, it is a silly question. When the team crosses the line once in 90 minutes and when the team is in the opposition half trying and trying and trying, you ask if we were equal? David de Gea was sleeping and he did the funny thing at the end, I was laughing with that.”
This last comment referred to a late Darren Fletcher effort that went through the goalkeeper’s hands on to the bar before De Gea clutched it. A winner for Pulis’s defence-first-and-last team would have been unfair. As Mourinho said: “One team had the ball, one team didn’t. One team tried to win, the other tried to draw. One keeper did a funny thing, the other made three great saves.”
Of the dropped points, the Portuguese said: “We have a lot of draws this season. Teams come here just to defend. Goalkeepers come here to be man of the match. We cannot score a goal even when we are one-on-one. We beat everyone on quality of play and direction of the game, possession, creation and ambition but we drew too many matches.”
Mourinho pointed blame at the attacking quartet of Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan for lacking a killer touch. “Today for 90 minutes [Antonio] Valencia was consistent, Ashley Young was consistent, Marcos Rojo was consistent, Eric Bailly was consistent, [Marouane] Fellaini was consistent, [Michael] Carrick was consistent,” he said, of his defence and midfield. “And the other ones were not consistent, the other ones were a flash of talent, a glimpse of talent, almost a goal and we need to keep opponents and this is deja vu all season. When you score a goal against these teams [who United have drawn against] you don’t win 1-0. You win three or 4-0 because if we score a goal the game is open and you have a different story. Then they have to play a different way and we are not consistent on this. We miss easy chances.”
The manager hinted the attack is where he will look to strengthen in the summer. “In football, especially in teams that want to win things, you need consistency in the individual,” he said when asked his priorities in the market. “In these teams at this level you need to be consistent.”
Mourinho said the attacking quartet vanished at times against Albion. “Then a couple of players disappear and there are 10 minutes when you don’t see them and you see always the same people, always the same guys in front of the train pulling the train, so it’s disappointing, yes, because it’s one more draw.”
United remain unbeaten since losing 4-0 at Chelsea on 23 October. “It’s an amazing unbeaten run, 19 matches in the modern Premier League is amazing,” Mourinho said. “It is fantastic but too many draws at home because some draws away from home are very acceptable, positive, you can deal with it but there are too many draws at home.”
Pulis’s side did not come to attack and the manager was fair in acknowledging West Brom did not deserve to win via De Gea’s mistake near the final whistle. “If we won at the end, it would have been unjust,” said the manager, whose side remain eighth. “We are really pleased with the effort and commitment they put in today, United have some really good players. No matter how well set up you are, you will always be on your back foot. We have players who can do better in possession but it is a fabulous point to get at Old Trafford. The group plays very well together, they play very compact but we had opportunities to spring out of it like against Arsenal. Their resilience and commitment was fantastic.”
Next for United are Everton on Tuesday but they could have Paul Pogba back, as he trained on the pitch afterwards here. But to finish in the top four the serial drawing has to change.