Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said on Tuesday night that his side are the third-most wasteful in front of goal in the Premier League after they salvaged an unconvincing, last-minute draw against Everton.
In fact, Southampton, Sunderland and Middlesbrough all have worse shot conversion rates than United, who have managed more shots on goal than any other Premier League side bar Tottenham Hotspur this season, but Tuesday night's struggle for a breakthrough proved how tough securing a top four place will be for the team.
“There are different stats and the stats are never the same but the last one we are the second team in the Premier League with most shots but we are the third worst in the relation between the shots and the number of goals we score,” Mourinho said.
Manchester United 1 Everton 1 player ratings
Manchester United 1 Everton 1 player ratings
1/22 David de Gea – 4 out of 10
So often the saviour, could have done more to prevent Jagielka’s peculiar goal, like closing his legs for starters.
2/22 Ashley Young – 7 out of 10
Offered more offensively than most and tested Everton’s defence with several crosses, but his team-mates failed to make them count.
3/22 Marcos Rojo – 4 out of 10
A more assertive centre-half would have clattered Jagielka and won the header that lead to the goal. Too often, Rojo is not that centre-half.
4/22 Eric Bailly – 6 out of 10
Dealt with Lukaku in the brief moments he threatened United’s backline on a largely quiet night for the hosts’ defence.
5/22 Daley Blind – 5 out of 10
Ineffective going forward first half, hauled off for Paul Pogba at half-time.
6/22 Ander Herrera – 7 out of 10
One of United’s brighter sparks but even so, should have done better than hit the bar when latching onto the rebound of Blind’s first half free-kick.
7/22 Michael Carrick - 6 out of 10
Struggled to have an impact and often too conservative in his passing when United needed a fresh impetus.
8/22 Marouane Fellaini – 4 out of 10
The many United supporters who believe he simply should not be in this team had their arguments boosted. Offers little more than a target on set pieces and a mistimed tackle.
9/22 Jesse Lingard – 4 out of 10
Like Fellaini, a display to fuel his critics. Wasteful in the first-half, largely anonymous in the second.
10/22 Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 5 out of 10
Still misses far too many opportunities for a frontman of his quality. Could have got United off to a perfect start but fluffed his lines.
11/22 Marcus Rashford – 4 out of 10
A night where his relative inexperience showed. Has good grace and plenty of time on his side to improve, at least.
12/22 Joel Robles – 8 out of 10
Recovered from a shaky display in the Merseyside derby to impress. Best save came when acrobatically denying Blind from a free-kick.
13/22 Mason Holgate – 7 out of 10
Mature performance from the youngster. Poked a low cross away from Rashford’s toes to keep it 1-0 towards the end of the first half.
14/22 Phil Jagielka – 7 out of 10
A quite remarkable finish for his goal and coped well defensively, although aided by United’s lack of pace in forward positions.
15/22 Ashley Williams – 4 out of 10
It was all going so well until that late handball. The Wales international wins a lot of plaudits, but this was another mistake in a debut Everton season peppered with them.
16/22 Leighton Baines – 6 out of 10
Played his part in a solid defensive display, but would perhaps have had more problems if facing the rested Antonio Valencia.
17/22 Idrissa Gueye – 6 out of 10
Swept up and stifled United attacks alongside Barry, though Herrera had the better of him at times.
18/22 Gareth Barry – 8 out of 10
The key man in Everton’s backs-to-the-wall resistance, did not mind getting a little dirty. Will have enjoyed one ‘experienced’ challenge on Rashford.
19/22 Tom Davies – 7 out of 10
No doubt buoyed by his new contract, the youngster was much better than at Anfield. Showed movement and intelligence breaking into the final third.
20/22 Ross Barkley – 6 out of 10
Another player who improved from Anfield, but in Barkley’s case it was not hard. If you’re being harsh, showed little creativity, but battled well.
21/22 Kevin Mirallas – 6 out of 10
Brought more invention to the line-up having sat out the majority of the derby. He and Lukaku were not on the same wavelength at times, however.
22/22 Romelu Lukaku – 5 out of 10
At times guilty of not holding the ball up well enough and inviting pressure on his team, but his all-round display was an unselfish one for the cause.
“We need to score goals to win matches. I say there is not one match at home that does not have emotion because we try until the end but we don’t score enough goals. How many goals have [Marcus] Rashford, [Jesse] Lingard, [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan, [Paul] Pogba got? Paul has the record of [hitting] posts. How many goals from the attacking players? Not enough. There are some teams where three chances three goals three points.”
The Portuguese eventually settled on a very basic, route on option with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marouane Fellaini the targets in the box – saying that the more mechanical route was best suited to a side with less natural talent.
“It is the basic thing to play more direct,” he said. “You don’t need so much talent, so much intention. It becomes more mechanic. To play the way you like to play, you need what you have, creativity, dynamic. I give them lots of freedom to interchange position by in the end you go pragmatism.”
Though United’s must vaunted unbeaten run has extended to 20 games, it has been an unconvincing one, littered with dropped points and including ten draws. United’s home record is particularly indifferent. There have been nine draws at home and Burnley have four more wins on their own turf than Mourinho’s side
Mourinho was again critical of Luke Shaw. Despite giving him a 25-minute substitute’s cameo that he said he was pleased with, the manager accused the full back of not doing enough of his own thinking.
“It was his body with my brain,” Mourinho said. “He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him. The communication was possible because we were very close. He cannot play with my brain. He must accelerate the process: 21 years old is old enough to have a better understanding but his contribution was good to improve the team. After 30 seconds he was almost in an assist position. He goes today in a positive feeling because his performance was positive.”
With United claiming that Wayne Rooney was missing against his old club because of two ankle injuries, Mourinho cast doubt over whether the striker would be fit to face Sunderland on Sunday. “Two ankles so I don’t know,” he said.
Mourinho said a top four finish was becoming a more remote possibility."More difficult, very difficult,” he told the BBC. “It is mathematically possible but depends on our opponents. It is an amazing run of 20 matches unbeaten but too many draws at home. Because of that we are in the position we are. We build well but we don't score enough goals, we don't kill off enough opponents and at the end of this season I think we will be punished by that.”Reuse content