Juan Mata has shed light on the frustration in the dressing room following Manchester United’s inability to claim three points against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.
Man United fought back well in the second half, however, and eventually tied things up in the 84th minute with a Zlatan Ibrahimovic header, but couldn’t press on and pick up three points.
Mata, writing in his weekly blog, praised his teammates for their spirit but noted that failing to win left a bitter taste in his mouth.
“Liverpool scored first, from the penalty spot, and we couldn’t take our chances to equalise before the break,” he said.
“In the last few minutes we pushed really hard for the victory, which is something that United has done for many years in the past. Zlatan was able to tie the score, and we felt that, if the game had lasted a big longer, we would’ve won.
“It was a pity, because our goal was the three points, obviously… Perhaps we didn’t see the best football but it was a thrilling game full of rivalry.
“All we have to think about now is starting over and trying to win the next game. The team showed pride until the end, and Old Trafford fought with us, as always. It’s time to recover for the next weekend because the competition goes on.
“Now we have a few days to prepare the game against Stoke City. It’s always a complicated visit, and they have won two consecutive games. As I’ve said before, we must focus on ourselves and play our best football. That’s what we have been doing for the last few weeks, with ambition and confidence.
“There are very important weeks ahead in the calendar, with games against our main rivals, and we must get as many points as possible to keep moving closer to the other teams. There’s still a long way to go…”
This was, by all accounts, a dramatically substandard performance from Mourinho’s men in comparison to what United fans have seen in recent weeks. Small things such as passing, marking from set-pieces and winning second balls appeared to be problematic at times, and for a good 80 minutes Old Trafford witnessed a side struggling to mount much momentum.
But even during what was a poor display, United managed to carve out better chances than the visitors, who only found the net from the spot. Mourinho’s men, even during a lukewarm display, remain capable of cultivating chances in front of goal – a strong sign of this side moving in the right direction. And Zlatan’s late goal ensures that momentum remains with Mourinho’s side heading into what promises to be a crucial month in the context of this season.