Football

Mourinho slams misfiring United stars

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho openly criticised four of his key players, after yet another frustrating league game at Old Trafford ended in a 0-0 draw with West Bromwich Albion.

Mourinho's side have now drawn eight league games at home this season and, in seven of them, they were comfortably the more dominant team but, ultimately, failed to turn possession and chances into goals.

The latest disappointment on Saturday followed that pattern with United enjoying 75 per cent possession against Albion, but failing to end a run of home draws that has left them facing an uphill task if they are to finish in the top four.

And Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial found themselves publicly criticised by Mourinho as the team, missing six key players through injury or suspension, took their total of home points dropped in drawn games to 16 for the campaign.

"This is deja vu all season," said Mourinho.

"We're not consistent. We miss easy chances. We have moments or periods when we push, but then a couple of players disappear for 10 minutes.

"You always see the same people, the same guys in front of the train, pulling the train. It's disappointing.

"We need to kill off teams. When you see the number of goals we have scored compared to our domination, it's a big contradiction.

"If you're somebody who doesn't know, you would think we're a defensive team, a counter-attacking team, waiting for opponents' mistakes. And it's completely the opposite.

"But see how may goals our guys score during the season - Rashford, Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Martial. See how many goals they score and then Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) and (Juan) Mata are the ones with more goals.

"If they are not, the situation gets more difficult."

Mourinho's decision to single out his under-performing stars by name is not an option usually taken by modern managers.

WARNING

And his words could easily be taken as a warning to the quartet, as he prepares for a busy summer in the transfer market.

"In teams that want to win things, you need consistency in individuals," said Mourinho.

"In some other clubs where you are playing for the top 10, any player with talent is welcome, even if that talent is not consistent, even if that talent is one day yes, one day no.

"In teams at this level, you need to be consistent and today, for 90 minutes, (Antonio) Valencia was consistent, Ashley Young was consistent, Marcos Rojo, (Eric) Bailly, (Marouane) Fellaini, (Michael) Carrick were consistent... And the others were not consistent.

"The others were a flash of talent, a glimpse of talent."

For all Mourinho's anger, he saw United stretch their unbeaten run to 19 league games and their total of three league defeats all season is now joint-best in the division, along with second-placed Tottenham. - AFP

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