José Mourinho criticises Manchester United’s finishing after Everton draw

Paul Wilson at Old Trafford
The Guardian
<span class="element-image__caption">Joel Robles, right, saves a shot by Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford during the draw at Old Trafford. </span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images</span>
Joel Robles, right, saves a shot by Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford during the draw at Old Trafford. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

José Mourinho has admitted that goalscoring is a problem for Manchester United and says he will take steps to improve the situation for next season.

United’s last‑gasp equaliser against Everton took their unbeaten record to 20 Premier League games, yet they have remained out of the top four through drawing 10 of them. “It is obvious we do not score enough goals,” the United manager said. “We have the attacking players, we have the chances but we don’t convert enough. I think we are second in the table for attempts on goal but third from bottom for the ratio of chances accepted. That says it all. I would happily sign up now to go 20 matches unbeaten next season, but to win more games we need to score more goals.”

Ironically Mourinho felt his side had scored a legitimate goal against Everton before the stoppage‑time penalty that salvaged a point, replays suggesting Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s second‑half header was from a starting position level with the last defender and perhaps ought to have stood. “That disallowed goal was wrong but I am not unhappy with the linesman and I have told him so,” Mourinho said. “I accept it was a difficult decision, but even after that we had chances, we hit the post, put a free header over the bar, we tried everything.”

Mourinho said he sensed his side were losing confidence in their attacking ability so he ordered them to be more direct against Everton. “You don’t need so much confidence when you play that way, it’s less creative and more mechanical. We tried to take a short cut by sending Marouane Fellaini to play up next to Zlatan.” It took a while to work, though by the 94th minute Everton were unable to hold out against a constant battering.

“It was painful to lose in the last minute like that because Ashley Williams did a great job,” Ronald Koeman said. “We can’t complain about the penalty. We made a few other defensive mistakes in the second half but we also created some good chances on the counter and couldn’t take them. With a better final ball we might have had a second goal and three points.”

The Everton manager was pleased with his side’s response to defeat in the Merseyside derby but not completely surprised. “United play a different system to Liverpool. They don’t press as hard,” he said. “I feel more comfortable playing against them than the way Liverpool try to press.”

United’s all-important equaliser came when Williams handled a shot from Luke Shaw, of all people. Mourinho conceded the left-back had improved the team when he came on as a substitute, though still proceeded to be highly critical. “Because he was playing on my side of the pitch I was able to do his thinking for him, I was making every decision for him. At 21 years old he needs to have a better understanding and he needs to accelerate the process.”

Mourinho also revealed Marcus Rashford is low on confidence after not scoring since September but his approach to the forward is quite different. “The kid is desperate but he works and works and tries and tries,” he said. “He is an amazing professional and the only thing he deserves from me is support.”

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