Sam Allardyce believes Manchester United’s performance against Tottenham Hotspur did not merit a 3-0 defeat.
Jose Mourinho’s men dominated the first 30 minutes, pressing with intensity and moving the ball well, and should have been leading at half time.
But they were made to pay for their mistakes: Harry Kane and Lucas Moura scored in quick succession before the visitors, with Man United attacking, added a late third on the break.
Speaking after the game, Allardyce made a point of how the scoreline did not reflect the true nature of United’s performance.
“I’ll tell you the stats and why Manchester United were so good. The stats were 57% possession, 23 shots, five on target, Tottenham 43% possession, nine shots, and five on target,” he said.
“It’s only about Tottenham’s finishing that got them the victory, normally that result would never, never happen,” Allardyce told TalkSport.
“So, is it a freak result, or not?, when you’ve had 23 shots at your own place [Old Trafford], and you’ve not scored, that’s not the manager’s fault as he’s set his team to go out and attack, they’ve gone and attacked, they’ve created enough chances to win the comfortably, they’ve failed to took those chances and they ended up getting sucker-punched by what in the end was pretty poor defending.
“It’s alright saying it’s a disaster – yes it is, it’s 3-0, but if you’re a manager you’d say to your players at the end of the day ‘look cut the silly mistakes out, keep getting this possession rating, keep getting this shot rating and we’ll win far more games than we’ll lose.”
The numbers really don’t read too badly for United. No team has made more ball recoveries in a half of football than what United managed last night. They created more chances in 35 minutes than they did in 90 against Brighton and Hove Albion. They forced Spurs into their highest amount of misplaced passes in 45 minutes this season. They had 23 shots.
Strategically and tactically, Mourinho noted after the game, United did not lose. And perhaps he has a point.
Perhaps, though, this is major cause for concern. United’s game plan looked excellent and they were a notably improved outfit to the one which wilted in Brighton, yet they still lost 3-0.
For all the good work on show last night, that spinelessness – a kind of flabby underbelly – which hallmarks the apocalyptic stages of a Mourinho third season was there for all to see too. And that, really, is the most pressing thing for the Portuguese at the moment.