Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini conceded a penalty within minutes of being on the pitch to help Everton claw their way back into the game at the very end. Jose Mourinho however has defended his decision to bring on the midfielder.
It was yet another frustrating evening for Manchester United as they were held to their third consecutive 1-1 draw in the Premier League by Everton. A late Leighton Baines penalty ensured the Toffees came away with at least a point against the Red Devils.
Jose Mourinho’s side have only picked up a solitary league win against Swansea over the course of the last two months leaving many to question the boss’ decisions on the pitch.
That chorus grew leaps and bounds last evening when the Portuguese brought on Marouane Fellaini in the 85th minute for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and watched his Belgian midfielder concede an 88th minute penalty that gifted the Toffees a way back.
Apart from the penalty incident, stray passes and a genuine lack of awareness did little to help the 29-year-old’s case in what was his 100th outing in a Manchester United shirt.
However, speaking after the game Mourinho defended his substitution claiming that the Belgian was brought on for the aerial advantage he gave his side.
He said,”Everton is not a passing team any more like they were in the past. Everton is a team that plays direct: goalkeeper direct, Ashley Williams direct, Ramiro Funes Mori direct. Everything direct.”
“When you have on the bench a player with two metres [in height] you play the player in front of the defensive line to help the team to win the match,” he further explained.
A beautiful lobbed finish from Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave United the lead early in the first half and the Red Devils seemed to be on course to securing only their second Premier League victory in two months. That is until Fellaini gifted his former team a way back into the game.
The draw means that United are 14 points off the pace at the top of the table and 9 points adrift of top 4. The result at Goodison leaves Mourinho’s side needing three points from their visit to Tottenham next week, else they stand the risk of leaving too much ground to cover between them and the top four places.
Speaking of his side’s inability to finish off games, Mourinho said,”We are not getting the results we deserve. We are getting draws but deserving victory. Opposition are leaving the stadium super happy with points they don’t deserve and we are leaving the stadium with a feeling we deserved more.”
While his claims are valid, Mourinho must also accept the fact that his side’s disappointing run is down to their inconsistency and poor conversion of chances and he must positively look towards working on that.