Manchester United were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw against West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday, but it was manager Jose Mourinho who was the major talking point of the match.
Manchester United hosted West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday night in a bid to halt a run of unfavourable domestic results that has seen the Red Devils win just once since the start of October. With Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal all winning their games on the weekend, another winless result threatened to create further headway between Jose Mourinho’s men and their Top 4 rivals.
Just after the match kicked off, it looked like Manchester United and Jose Mourinho were set to go through another night of disappointment as Diafra Sakho headed in from an inch-perfect Dimitri Payet free kick delivery, with just 90 seconds on the clock.
Post that moment though, Mourinho’s men relentlessly pushed forward in search of an equalizer, with the wait ending in the 21st minute as Paul Pogba’s sublime aerial ball found Zlatan Ibrahimovic who headed in from six yards out to level things up.
The real talking point of that match came six minutes later though, as Jose Mourinho was controversially sent off to the stands for kicking a water bottle in anger after Pogba was booked by referee Jon Moss for diving. The incident also kicked up a storm on Twitter as Manchester United supporters stood firm with Mourinho, in what most thought was a biased decision in a league with a number of very expressive managers.
Post Mourinho’s dismissal, his side toiled hard throughout the remainder of the match to score the winning goal, but were futile in their efforts as West Ham keeper Darren Randolph bravely denied the United attack on a number of occasions. The result saw the Hammers earn a valuable point, while condemning Manchester United to a fourth consecutive draw at home – the first time that they have gone four games without a win at home since February 1990.
After the match, Mourinho refused to meet the media and his assistant Rui Faria was sent in his place. While he was diplomatic in his comments when asked about the Manchester United manager’s sending off, Faria expressed support for Mourinho’s actions, in the press conference.
Here’s what he told the media in the post-match press conference [via manutd.com]: “I have nothing to say about the referee’s decision [to send Mourinho off]. I didn’t comment with him [Mourinho, about it] – we just spoke about what the team needed for the second half, any adjustments, and we focused on that really.”
On Pogba’s booking and Mourinho’s actions subsequently, Faria had this to say: “I think everyone saw that his frustration showed that it was a free-kick to us but it was a yellow card for Paul and he’s out of the next match. So there is maybe reason to express some frustration but it is also something that happens during the game, the referee’s decision. From our perspective it was a decision that should have been for the opposite side [for us].”
The result left Manchester United with 20 points from 13 games, their worst return after this point since the Premier League’s inception. The draw also meant that Mourinho’s side is now eight points behind fourth-placed Arsenal and 11 behind league leaders Chelsea.
As the gap threatens to get more imposing, and as Mourinho looks set to face a two-match ban from the FA, Manchester United must find a way to get back to winning ways quickly, with or without their manager’s presence on the touchline.