Manchester United’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho / AFP PHOTO / Scott Heppell
Jose Mourinho claimed he is being judged unfairly by critics after Manchester United conceded a late Leighton Baines penalty in a damaging 1-1 draw at Everton.
Mourinho’s team have won just twice in the league since the end of August, a run which has featured numerous draws and has derailed United’s hopes of winning a title in their manager’s debut season at Old Trafford.
However, Mourinho, who earned a reputation for not always winning in the most attractive style when in charge of Chelsea, insists his side is playing well and that he is being held to a double standard.
“You have to make a decision because when my teams are playing pragmatic football and winning matches and winning titles, you say it is not right and nice,” Mourinho said.
“When my teams play very, very well, there is a huge change in relation to the past two or three years. Now you say what matters is to get result, no matter what.
“At the moment teams are getting results, defending with 11 players, keeping the ball and playing on the counter-attack. You have to make a decision.”
The last comment may have been a thinly-disguised reference to Chelsea and their current style of play.
But, in any case, United had only themselves to blame for their latest disappointment as late substitute Marouane Fellaini tripped Idrissa Gueye and Baines struck the equalising penalty.
Mourinho, whose side are 13 points behind leaders Chelsea, did not take kindly to questions about his decision to bring on the Belgian and said: “I thought you would know more about football than you do.
“It is obvious. Everton is not a passing team. They play direct. Everything is direct.
“When a team is losing it plays direct, when you have a player on the bench with two metres (height) you play that player in front of the defensive line to win the match.”
– Emotional –
Baines’s penalty cancelled out the opening goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a strong spell from United who also saw Ander Herrera hit a post.
“It was another game with a very good performance in a very difficult place to play,” said Mourinho
“A very emotional stadium against a team with very good players.
“We are playing very well at home, being super dominant. We are playing very well away controlling matches and performing really well with some amazing performance but not getting the results we deserve.”
United defender Phil Jones, who continued his impressive recent form after returning from injury problems, articulated the frustration in the visitors’ camp.
“It’s happened too many times, we’ve dropped too many points,” said Jones.
“That’s four or five games I can think of where we have completely dominated and didn’t win. It’s happened again.”
United might have had greater problems had defender Marcos Rojo been dismissed in the first half, instead of earning a yellow card, for a horrific lunge at Gueye, although Everton manager Ronald Koeman refused to criticise the Argentinian.
“It’s difficult,” said Koeman who made three excellent substitutions to rescue the point.
“Maybe if the referee could watch it back, maybe it would be a red card. We always have discussions about red or yellow, if it’s a penalty, but finally it’s a fair result. Both teams didn’t deserve to lose.
“We can fight back, we showed that today. It was disappointing to go 1-0 down but we didn’t deserve to lose the match.
“We showed that commitment and qualities and the three subs had a big impact on the game. We deserved it because we were dangerous in the second half.”