Jose Mourinho was talking in the most derogatory terms about Luke Shaw on Saturday. On Saturday he had the left back to thank for helping to rescue a point for Manchester United.
With the game entering the final minute of stoppage time, Shaw found himself unmarked in the penalty area and unleashed a shot. Ashley Williams stuck out a hand to save the ball and Robert Madley, the referee, duly pointed to the spot and showed the Everton defender a red card.
Up stepped Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score the penalty and, from the clutches of defeat, came a draw. It was not what United needed going into this game but, in the circumstances, they would take it.
Make that nine draws at Old Trafford this season and 21 points dropped. If the Europa League was not already looking United’s best route into next season’s Champions League, it is now.
As good as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is, it comes to something when a 35-year-old is dictating the terms to United, asking, as the Swede was in the build-up to this match with the club’s official television no less, if they could match his ambition.
Ibrahimovic wants to know that he won’t be “wasting time” by hanging around and seemed to be challenging United to make a statement in the transfer market.
There has been progress at Old Trafford this term but it has been harder to spot in recent weeks when the football has slowed, momentum dropped and results suffered and, like against West Bromwich Albion here on Saturday, there was a whiff in the first half against Everton of the static, pedestrian team that mostly bored supporters witless during the Louis van Gaal era.
The crowd was certainly jumpy, their agitation growing after Everton took the lead midway through the opening period when Marcos Rojo and David De Gea conspired to make a hash of things.
Kevin Mirallas’s out-swinging corner was headed to the far post by Ashley Williams. Rojo was caught in two minds and Phil Jagielka capitalised on the United defender’s hesitation to hook the ball through the legs of David De Gea, whose concentration had lapsed.
Jose Mourinho had rung the changes in a bid to force a reaction after West Brom, with Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera returning from suspension and Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, two players who had incurred the manager’s wrath after the weekend’s goalless draw, dropped to the substitutes’ bench.
But it was hard to discern United’s game plan. Too often there was no support in attack and the absence of a quicksilver predator was exposed five minutes before the interval when a fine ball from Ashley Young went careering across the six-yard box untouched.
Everton looked comfortable for the most part and, when opportunity did knock for United, the chances – surprise, surprise – were spurned. Herrera, who also had a drive pushed aside, crashed the ball against the crossbar on the rebound from Daley Blind’s saved free-kick and Ibrahimovic was guilty of taking a touch too many before then to give Williams time to block his shot.
In a desperate search for some drive and impetus, Daley Blind was hooked at half-time and Paul Pogba, available again after 2½ weeks out with a hamstring injury, summoned.
Within 10 minutes of the restart, the Frenchman had been reacquainted with that familiar obstacle – the woodwork. Young whipped over a free-kick after Gareth Barry had poleaxed Marcus Rashford and Pogha headed against the crossbar, the eighth time this term he has been denied by the woodwork.
With Pogba in the middle and no Antonio Valencia, rested here, Herrera was shunted to right back and Young moved to the left.
It was unorthodox but Mourinho needed some spark, any spark. Tempers threatened to flare but, beneath the surface, Everton continued to keep their cool.
This was a far cry from their performance in the 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield three days earlier, their doggedness and discipline epitomised by Williams and Jagielka as well as Mason Holgate, who barely gave Rashford an inch on Everton’s right.
By the 65th minute, Mourinho had even resorted to introducing Luke Shaw, which marked quite the turnaround from Saturday when he questioned the defender’s focus, commitment and ambition and claimed he was a “long way behind” his rival left backs. Shaw’s first touch was good, it was just the feeble cross that followed that pointed to his ring rust.
United thought they had drawn level 19 minutes from time. Herrera, looking very much at home and United’s best performer on the night, stood up a cross. Ibrahimovic attacked it and Joel Robles, despite getting a hand to the ball, could not keep out the header but the United striker was wrongly ruled offside.
Williams' red card
That's a picture that tells a story. Rio Ferdinand has said this is what happens when you panic.
And that's it. Poor Everton. They should have held on, Williams was brilliant throughout and made that one mistake at the end to gift United a point they didn't deserve. Neither manager will be happy with that.
Zlatan scores and it's 1-1!
Robles boots the ball into the crowd and for a second it looks like the referee has asked for a retake. He hasn't, he's just told Robles to wise up.
WILLIAMS HAS BEEN SENT OFF! Shaw shoots from 20 yards, Williams tries to head it into the ground but leads with his arm and heads the ball on to his arm. It has to be a penalty! Oh Everton were so close to such a great result! Zlatan to take the penalty.
90 mins +3
Gueye pulls Pogba to the floor near the box, the United players want him to be given a second yellow card... Howard Webb thinks it's a clear foul and a second yellow... but the referee sees nothing. Well, that's Mourinho's excuse taken care of.
90 mins +2
Four minutes of added time to come. United's players still just hoping something happens rather than making it - nobody is running into space to receive the ball and it's been happening all game. Can Everton hang on though? It's long ball after long ball.
Baines blocks a cross for another United corner.
ZLATAN MUST SCORE!
That was the chance. It's a wonderfully placed cross from the right onto Zlatan's head but Williams seems to get a little flick on it and the striker powers it over the bar. Mourinho isn't enjoying this.
Holgate nearly puts his defence right in it with a Dreadful (capital letter on purpose) header that lands the ball inside his own box. United can't take advantage, Everton get it forward and Calvert-Lewin runs at speed with Lukaku ahead of him. Lukaku pulls away to try and time the forward run in behind the two United defenders... but before he can, the ball is passed to him and the move runs out. Poor decision from the youngster there.
Everton counter-attack with two players again, meaning when United do win it back, everyone else is behind the ball. Lingard shoots from distance and wins a corner, someone fouls someone in the box and it's an Everton free-kick. They take their sweet time over it.
Shaw tries the one-two and gets into the box, winning a corner. Mkhitaryan fires it in... Rojo flicks it on... Robles catches. It's not United's day, is it?
OR IS IT? Probably not. BUT IS IT?
Howard Webb says that Ibrahimovic goal was marginal and has suggested the benefit of the doubt should probably have gone to the attacking team.
Barkley has been subbed off for Calvert-Lewin.
United have Everton pinned back but don't look like creating anything. Zlatan and Pogba try some little skill tricks and drag backs to make space in the area. There are far too many Everton defenders for this to happen. Lukaku burns away on the counter-attack down the right but doesn't look up to see Barkley in space and is tackled by Bailly. Baines shoots from the corner but puts it way over.
Brilliant from Lukaku! He jumps to control a high ball, takes it with him as he moves on the turn and then muscles Rojo out of it. De Gea can't decide what to do and Rojo scrambles it away.
United attack, Rashford crosses from the left but it's cleared and Barkley breaks, waits for Gueye to arrive, Gueye passes short and Barry puts it backwards to keep possession. Holgate shows inexperience and hits an eager ball forward which goes all the way to De Gea.
FELLAINIIIII misses with a dreadful effort 20 yards from goal. He gets under the ball and sends it flying way over the bar.
Zlatan heads at goal, beats the keeper and starts to celebrate but is clearly offside. The linesman rules it out.
Gueye is caught by Shaw... maybe... but goes down and stays down to win a free-kick. Mourinho isn't impressed. With Gueye, that is. I should be specific there.
I don't think United have had a shot since... that header off the bar from the free-kick. And before that Fellaini had a poor effort at goal turned behind for a corner.
Pennington comes on for Mirallas. United still looking to try and create something but Everton are defending well, deep in their own half. Lukaku is waiting by the halfway line as a target man, Barkley further back to help out in the event of a counter.
Here comes Mkhitaryan. He's going to replace Carrick, who I thought was doing well to give United a composed pass out of the back, but there you go. I'm not a manager, I suppose.
Everton look dangerous on the counter-attack here. Lukaku is shielding the ball so well - he's been really impressive tonight.
AND LUKE SHAW IS ON! [celebration song] as Young goes off with an injury. Odds on Shaw to score a hat-trick?
Mkhitaryan and Martial are being given instructions on the sidelines at the moment. Luke Shaw is also warming up but probably won't get his chance tonight.
SO CLOSE FOR EVERTON! It's more superb play from Lukaku as he pulls a low cross into the area from wide and Mirallas nearly beats Young to it...
Mirallas takes a corner from the right, Barkley heads towards goal, De Gea picks the ball up and sends it long. Gueye sees it out for a throw, Baines takes his time over it before hoofing the ball miles away... and Lukaku controls on the left wing, crosses in and wins a throw high up the pitch. Great hold-up play from Lukaku!
Pogba tries to dribble past two players with one dropped shoulder and change of direction but gives the ball away instead.
Oooooh it's getting all exciting now. Everton and United players come together in a rammy in the centre-circle as Mirallas is clattered by Young and Carrick following a drop ball. The referee has to calm this one down and comes over to book Young for the foul.
OFF THE BAR! This time Young gets his delivery right and Pogba flicks a header towards goal which crashes back off the cross bar. So close!
Young hits a free-kick into the area towards the goalkeeper... but Robles catches. Mourinho is prowling his manager's cage on the touchline. Pogba finds Lingard on the right, he runs forward a few yards and hits a tame cross into the middle towards nobody. Everton clear. United need to put some conviction into their delivery from wide - it's all hopeful rather than measured.
Holgate tries to Marseille-turn Young, who flies in with a strong challenge and catches him. Holgate gets up and shoves Young but they calm down as they realise that Rashford is running away down the left wing. He is fouled, it's another free-kick.
Pogba runs into trouble and Everton can counter-attack. Five players move forwards... but Carrick wins the ball back and tries to find Zlatan. Williams reads the pass and cuts it out.
Zlatan skins Barkley on the right wing, drills a low cross into the six yard box but again nobody is there and Everton clear.
Everton get the first shot of the half as Mirallas hits a low drive from distance and De Gea saves. Rashford has moved out to the right and Lingard the left. And now Young is left-back - Mourinho has just shouted instructions out - and Herrera has moved... somewhere.
I'm trying to work out what United's formation is now and it looks like either Carrick is dropping back to make a defensive three or Lingard is a very attacking left-back. Hmmm.
Substitution at half time for Man Utd as Pogba comes on for Blind. Let's see how that changes the midfield!
Who will Mourinho blame after this one?
United are not particularly exciting to watch. Nobody seems to want to take charge and drive the ball forward, almost as if some of them have had their confidence knocked by someone... perhaps a fellow Manchester United employee telling everyone that they aren't playing well enough. To get creative players performing, they need confidence. When they don't perform it is not because they didn't want to, it is because something else is lacking. I'm not sure this current team have the kind of players who respond to Mourinho's outbursts.
More mediocre football at Old Trafford from Manchester United. Mourinho hasn't been given the performance he must have hoped his scathing words would provoke, Everton are in control here!
Mirallas does really well to dodge a tackle and send a long, low pass to Lukaku on the right. He brings it forward, United's two defenders stand up and block his path but nobody joins in and Lukaku just has a hit from 35 yards, which unsurprisingly, is blocked.
Gueye is booked for a late challenge on Zlatan, standing on his ankle.
United seem to be warming up a bit now and are passing it about a lot quicker. Zlatan is too isolated in attack though and tackled a couple of times while trying to hold the ball up. Young is part of the attack now too, giving United width on the right and allowing Lingard to drift inside.
Lukaku closes down Rojo and forces the defender to clear for a throw in. Rojo is annoyed that De Gea didn't come and rescue him there.
That's a photo of Jagileka nipping the ball out the air and between De Gea's legs.
And Young has just put in a superb cross to the six yard box but nobody is there to tap it in - that's the first time the full-backs have overlapped and it worked straight away.
The build-up is way too slow from United. They're taking forever to get the ball forward and Everton are able to easily get back into position and defend. I know Mourinho said it was difficult to switch the mentality of the players after Van Gaal reprogrammed them but this is poor and Everton are a much better team based on this performance.
LUKAKU IS NEARLY IN! A long ball, badly defended, Lukaku takes it down but doesn't play the through-ball in for Mirallas and is tackled. Davies shoots from miles out but catches Mirallas offside.
Everton are still working much harder to win the ball back, racing to close down United. Bailly juuuust gets away with a heavy touch, Young is dispossessed, Everton keep the ball and find Lukaku up top to hold onto it.
OFF THE BAR! Blind's free-kick is excellent and forces Robles to clatter into the post as he claws it out of the goal. Herrera runs onto the loose ball and batters a shot off the cross bar. Robles really clattered the post there and is having some treatment from the physios.
Incidentally, that goal means Everton are now in fifth and United have dropped to sixth. This game is a pretty big deal!
I'm not in the stadium but the atmosphere sounds flat from the TV feed. Mirallas throws Lingard to the floor while trying to get past him, Lingard lies on the floor clutching his face for a while (he's fine) and eventually gets a free-kick. Blind is standing over it.
This plays perfectly into Everton's hands now. They can sit back, take their time, wait for United to commit to the press and hit them on the counter-attack. They're in control of the ball, seem more aggressive in defence and Untied don't have players rushing forward to join in when they do go forward.
Lukaku tries a hit on his left foot from 20 yards but pulls it wide of the near post.
Man Utd 0 - 1 (Jagielka 23') Everton
What a weird goal. Old Trafford is eerily quiet as Everton take the corner, the ball is headed on by Williams and Jagielka holds off Rojo before flicking the ball at goal off the outside of his boot. It nutmegs De Gea and Everton lead!
Say what you want about Shaw's performances but he's got that "just been shouted at by your mam" face down to a tee. pic.twitter.com/lt8AxiDUYo— TBN Sport (@TBNSport) April 4, 2017
Everton don't deal with a high ball in defence and Herrera is able to win it. He heads it inside for Zlatan, failing to read the striker's intentions to run forwards towards the goal, and gives possession straight back.
Great shot by Mirallas! Lukaku drops short, Mirallas moves into the space, chests the pass down and fires low and hard towards the near post. De Gea saves well! It's a corner.
Barkley wins a corner on the right wing - he's another one having a good game. The centre-backs come forward for it, Jagielka looks for space, Williams heads it back into the box, United clear.
Lingard looks sharp tonight. He bursts forward at speed and nearly gets in behind the defence by running straight through them but is tackled.
Shortly after, Zlatan turns Gueye, feeds Rashford in on goal and the striker has his shot pushed wide by the goalkeeper. He was offside anyway but that's the kind of chance Mourinho has been saying his players need to take.
Lingard moves into space, gets the ball to feet and tries to launch a shot from distance towards the far post. It swerves wide! The first shot of the evening!
Everton are making the pitch really wide when in possession and shrinking into a narrow shape when United have the ball. Mirallas and Barkley are playing in quite central positions behind Lukaku, pressing the ball in a sort of arrow. Old Trafford sounds pretty quiet.
That's a pretty sky. On the pitch, Everton come forward and Lukaku holds up the ball on the left wing and finds a teammate. His touch is heavy and Fellaini wins a free-kick, United bring it out slowly and then a rushed pass is booted straight back to De Gea by a clearing Everton shirt.
Rashford wins a corner with a burst of pace but Everton defend well and get it away, United pass around the back. A quick pass is fired through the middle and Zlatan is away! He doesn't have the pace to get away from the defenders but he rides one challenge from Holgate, tries to go round the keeper and has his shot closed down and blocked by Williams, who dives in with a slide challenge.
Fellaini has already been criticised by Robbie Savage for a poor pass. Man Utd currently passing around the defence and taking it slow, then hitting it long and losing out. It looks like they're focusing down the left wing since young Mason Holgate is at left-back.
And we're off! Everton get the game started.
The players are on the pitch
It's time for some SOCCERBALL!
A beached Pogba
Somebody needs to push him back in the ocean. Use your gills, Paul!
Hull have scored more goals at home than Man Utd. Madness. As Rio Ferdinand has just explained, most teams come here and sit back to defend and try to avoid a hiding. The problem is that United's players aren't trying to kill them and keep going with a draw and a dab. No more dabbing!
Zlatan is ace
"Lions don't compare themselves to humans," says Zlatan Ibrahimovic in an interview with Des Kelly, as he points out that if you grow up with lions you have to expect to be eaten by a lion... or something like that. He's just funny to watch. It's arrogance but comes from a good place and he's always half-joking about it.
"Eric (Cantona) is Eric, Zlatan is Zlatan. I said give me a year, it took me three months to achieve what I wanted."
Ronald Koeman quick to defend Lukaku
"Like everybody you can have not a good performance like some players had last weekend but I think it's normal it can happen. If you score 21 goals in the Premier League I don't understand why there are critics.
"One choice was last weekend about the system, back to the normal one tonight and it's a fresh one, the best one to get something out of the game."
Security tight at the game
Just had my bag searched twice entering Old Trafford. Same at Chelsea on Sat. Yet Palace fans let off more flares than Navy has in stock...— Jim White (@jimw1) April 4, 2017
Mourinho is at it
Mourinho slags off Rashford, Mkhitaryan, Shaw and everyone else in public then moans about them not taking chances and acting all confident like. These young players are different to the generation of footballers that Mourinho used to win everything with and his tough love... actually it's not love, it's quite mean... suits determined players who want to prove him wrong. His treatment of Shaw sounds particularly harsh but there may well be method behind it - you must have come across the young guy at work who doesn't understand why he's not in charge since he's been working so hard and knows it all already. And if you don't it's because that kid was you!
Jose Mourinho doesn't want to focus on individuals... ;-)
"We normally defend well, control matches, create chances, don't score. We've lost so many points and we are in the position we are even on a 19 game unbeaten run.
"We had draws with Zlatan in the team too. I don't like to individualise, to say we didn't score because Zlatan wasn't here.
"I was not happy with Micky (Mkhitaryan)'s performances.
"Valencia is really, really tired, came from Ecuador, played 90 minutes and we need to protect him. Rooney had pain in both ankles and is unavailable."
Good evening and welcome to this sure-to-be incredible liveblog, by me, the ever modest JJ Bull. Team news will be in at 7pm because the game starts at 8pm but one player you can be certain to see tonight is Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku will be keen to impress tonight because his dad, Jose Mourinho, is the Man Utd manager and once sold him because he had brought shame to the family by not scoring enough goals. Find out how this story ends by sticking with me through tonight's action!
What is it?
It's the Premier League contest between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford.
When is it?
It's tonight so Tuesday, April 4.
What time is kick-off?
It all gets under way at 8pm.
What TV channel is it on?
BT Sport 1 has coverage of this one and you can tune in to build up from 7.15pm. Alternatively, you could bookmark this page and follow our live blog.
What is the team news?
Ander Herrera and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be back to bolster Manchester United's squad.
Midfielder Herrera has completed a two-game ban following his dismissal in the FA Cup defeat at Chelsea, while top-scorer Ibrahimovic returns from his three-game suspension for elbowing Tyrone Mings.
Record signing Paul Pogba, who has been absent for the last two games because of a hamstring injury, could be fit to return, but Juan Mata and defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling remain on the treatment table.
Provisional squad: De Gea, Romero, Valencia, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Rojo, Bailly, Blind, Darmian, Shaw, Young, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Rooney, Martial, Rashford, Ibrahimovic.
Everton look set to have the same squad for tonight's clash as they did for the loss at Liverpool on Saturday.
Everton's ex-United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin (calf) could be available come the weekend but will remain sidelined for this game, along with the likes of James McCarthy (hamstring) and the duo facing long periods out, Ramiro Funes Mori (knee) and Seamus Coleman (broken leg).
Manager Ronald Koeman says Aaron Lennon, another not involved in the 3-1 Merseyside derby defeat at Anfield, is "not in a physical way to be part of the team".
Provisional squad: Robles, Stekelenburg, Jagielka, Williams, Pennington, Holgate, Baines, Kenny, Davies, Gueye, Barry, Barkley, Calvert-Lewin, Mirallas, Lookman, Lukaku, Valencia, Kone.
What are they saying?
"I just want to think that against Everton we are going to do what we tried to do (against West Brom), to try to play with our best team and try to win the match.
"And after Everton we go to Sunderland with the same perspective ... then the Europa League comes and I don't know.
"It's possible that you see me play in the Premier League with a team where I'm going to protect the players that I consider fundamental for the Europa League."
"We know that they (United) have difficulties at home, maybe in the last few home results, but they had a lot of ball possession and were the better team in every game. They had chances to score.
"They are still a really strong team."
What are latest odds?
Manchester United to win 8/13
Everton to win 11/2
What's your prediction?