Jose Mourinho has warned his Manchester United players that they cannot keep “shooting themselves in the foot” after rueing his side’s mistakes on a chaotic night against Arsenal at Old Trafford.
As Arsenal manager Unai Emery expressed concern that defender Rob Holding could face a lengthy lay-off with a serious knee injury and suggested referee Andre Marriner may have made a mistake by failing to send off United’s Marcos Rojo for a two-footed lunge on Matteo Guendouzi, Mourinho bemoaned his team’s carelessness while praising their spirit for twice coming from behind.
A rare blunder from goalkeeper David De Gea gifted Arsenal their first goal before a mistake from Rojo culminated in the United defender scoring an own goal as Arsenal restored their lead against a severely patched up United back line that Mourinho claimed was “dead” by the end of the game.
United have now taken just three points from the past 12 available in the Premier League and now sit eighth in the table, behind Bournemouth on goal difference.
“We scored four goals and we drew 2-2 but we score four goals and, even in matches like today where we play well, we always shoot ourselves [in the foot]. Sometimes we miss chances with open goals, other times defensive mistakes but a fantastic spirit and good performances,” the United manager said.
Asked if he felt “under siege” at the moment, Mourinho added: “Not under siege, not at all. I feel that is a moment where we play against the team that is at the top of their season, a moment where everything goes well for them, that’s clearly a team on a high against a team with so many problems and, on the top of these problems, during football matches we shoot ourselves [in the foot].
“We had a very, very good start, everybody was expecting a good start but we score and 1-0 to them. In the second half in the best moment where Arsenal was trying to stop the game, get one injury here and there and they were trying to reduce the intensity of the game, we scored the second goal for them and then it is 2-1.
“But the reality is in the last four matches we didn't lose. Bad results apart from Young Boys, the three draws were three bad results and before that we lost against Manchester City but everybody loses [to City], not just us. And then before that we had a period where we were playing in our limits, which is sometimes what people don't understand.
“Our problem is a performance like this without the mistakes we made. We had good performances where we make mistakes and we are always punished.”
Emery was reluctant to blame Marriner for failing to send off Rojo in the first half for a poor challenge on Arsenal midfielder Guendouzi. “I don’t know, it’s difficult for the referees, they have a lot of personality, they can sometimes do mistakes,” the Arsenal manager said.
Emery said his side looked like the more likely winners and praised his players’ efforts after a gruelling North London derby against Spurs but his more immediate concern was over the fitness of Holding, who was taken off on a stretcher in the first half after being caught by Marcus Rashford. “We have to wait but maybe it’s a big injury. It’s his knee,” said Emery, who was confident another injury to Aaron Ramsey was not serious.