Jose Mourinho has noted that Manchester United lacked sufficient quality at set-pieces during his side’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool in the Premier League.
Paul Pogba came under intense scrutiny during the first half for his inability to track Dejan Lovren at set-pieces – a malaise that ultimately led to Liverpool taking the lead in the 27th minute.
Man United mounted an impressive resurgence in the second half and grabbed a late equaliser through Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but their frailties during dead-ball situations continued to show.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, admitted that United couldn’t match Liverpool when it came to defending corners and free-kicks.
“I didn’t think the game had super quality. We didn’t reflect the qualities we’ve & Liverpool have but it was emotional, intense,” he said.
“We were the team that attacked and Liverpool were the team that defended. Let’s see if the critics are fair.”
“There are teams where you can find four, five, six players really strong in defensive set pieces. In our team we don’t have it so much.”
United were not necessarily outmuscled by Liverpool at set-pieces. The problem stemmed strictly from Pogba’s inability to track Lovren throughout the encounter, with the Frenchman losing sight of his man on five separate occasions in the first half.
It was a clear mismatch, and Mourinho will think twice in the future over pitting Pogba – not renowned for his prowess when defending corners – against the opponent’s strongest header of the ball. This was an issue that could have been resolved by placing, say, Marcos Rojo against Lovren instead, but the lack of action eventually culminated in Liverpool taking the lead.