Football

Mourinho says unbeaten run bodes well for the future

Jose Mourinho has defended his team's inability to kill off opponents at Old Trafford this season, saying that their unbeaten run is a measure of their mental strength.

Manchester United drew their ninth league game at home on Tuesday, a 1-1 draw against Everton.

However, they are also in the midst of a 20-match unbeaten sequence in the Premier League, which started last October.

The Portuguese believes that this bodes well for next season,

He said: "It's good to know that we have a fantastic run of 20 unbeaten matches in the Premier League.

"I know, as an example, 10 matches, 10 draws or 10 points, 10 matches with five victories is 15 points.

"What is better? The 15 points, obviously.

"In terms of looking to the future, I prefer to look at 10 matches with 10 draws, you have something that is not easy to have.

"You are quite solid mentally, difficult to beat, fighting against difficult circumstances."

Mourinho, whose side play relegation-threatened Sunderland tonight, added: "I still think in spite of the bad results we are strong at home.

"Why?

"Because we lost only one game and we know why we lost that, because strange things happened during it.

"One defeat at home in all competitions and what makes me think we are strong is the way opponents play against us."

Meanwhile, Jesse Lingard's new and improved contract has raised some eyebrows, but Mourinho believes it is a "very important" deal for Manchester United.

A late bloomer at Old Trafford, the 24-year-old established himself in the first team under Louis van Gaal last season after several loan spells.

The past year has seen Lingard score in United's FA Cup, League Cup and Community Shield triumphs, as well as establishing himself as a member of the England national team.

That progress led United to agree a new and improved deal that will keep him at Old Trafford until 2021, with the option for a further year.

The reported £100,000-a-week (S$174,000) wages have shocked some onlookers, but Mourinho believes it is an important deal to wrap up.

"No, I think he is a good player already," Mourinho said when asked if Lingard was different to any preconceptions.

"And because of his age and because of his happiness in the work, I think he has conditions to be even better.

"Apart from that, English, made in the academy - very important for the club these players are made at home - so it is a very important contract." - WIRE SERVICES

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