Zlatan Ibrahimovic has admitted that Manchester United were nowhere near good enough during their 0-0 draw with Hull City on Wednesday night.
Jose Mourinho’s men begun brightly, moving the ball across the pitch with intent and power, but went back to the dressing room without a goal for the fifth Premier League game in a row.
Ibrahimovic, speaking after the game, was unable to hide his frustration.
“I think today was not about luck,” he said. “Because luck, if you don’t play good, and you get a chance, half chance and score, maybe it’s more luck but today we had great chances to score and we didn’t finish good enough and that happens.
“It would be nice to win today because the other teams lost points and we would come closer to, let’s say the top four, even for me top four is not my aim. My aim is to win the whole Premier League and if you don’t win you don’t come close, that’s it.
“If you make a goal in the last minute you will still win but if you don’t score you don’t win and I think we had some great chances to score but we didn’t score, so keep creating, keep creating and we missed the last third part of the field we were not doing like we know how to do and are able to do.”
A nine-game winning run had briefly tricked supporters into thinking that their side’s ineptitude in front of goal had been addressed. But then, life as a Man United fan during the post-Fergie era isn’t ever that simple, is it?
The old symptoms were back in force against Marco Silva’s side: complete domination, plenty of chances, some moments of brilliance and then, at the end of it all, sheer disappointment.
Mourinho will know that this attacking malaise serves as the last piece to the jig-saw puzzle: defensive shape, the ability to press as a unit, a balanced midfield, players capable of blitzing opponents, players capable of subtly dismantling opponents, confidence on the ball – the 54-year-old has ensured that these areas are mastered, but the most crucial aspect, based on Wednesday’s horror show, still requires plenty of work.