Jose Mourinho has noted that Manchester United wouldn’t have been able to score against Newcastle United in ten hours of play after suffering a 1-0 defeat at St James’ Park.
Anthony Martial spurned a one-on-one opportunity to put the visitors ahead in the first half before Alexis Sanchez fluffed his lines after rounding Martin Dubravka.
And Man United were eventually made to pay for their wastefulness as Matt Ritchie stoked home after some terrible defending at a set-piece.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho implied that United had ‘one of those’ days where the ball just wouldn’t go in.
“We could be here 10 hours and we wouldn’t score a goal. That’s the feeling,” he said.
“Anthony in the first and in the second half Alexis with an open goal. Then we have situations. The goal is a mistake. Long distance free kick we lose the first ball in the air because we didn’t compete and then we lost the second ball. Newcastle fight.
“I loved the way Newcastle fought for 90 minutes and I loved the way my players fought for the last 25 minutes to change the result.”
You felt during the game that United, for all their control, were playing at a speed just a few percentage points below what was needed to truly take Newcastle apart. The contrast in attacking zip and precision with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur was once again there to see.
Even so, United carved out plenty of chances. Good chances. So perhaps talk of United’s structural approach is being slightly overplayed.
But what once again came back to haunt them, as it so often did last season, was some kind of psychological block in front of goal – especially when they fell behind – and Mourinho doesn’t seem to be any closer to solving that problem.