ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Jose Mourinho still playing the blame game
Mourinho slams defence’s lack of ‘technical quality’ after their draw with Valencia
Manchester — Jose Mourinho risked causing another rift with his Manchester United stars as he slammed his defence’s lack of "technical quality" after their 0-0 draw with Valencia.
The frustrating Champions League clash at Old Trafford means Mourinho’s side have gone four games without a win in any competition.
United rarely looked like scoring against their out-of-form opponents and were booed off at full-time.
It was another blow for Mourinho, who has come under fire after presiding over United’s worst start to a league season for 29 years.
Mourinho has feuded with star midfielder Paul Pogba and other members of his squad. And now he has taken a swipe at his back four, which featured Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw against Valencia.
"We don’t have the technical quality to build from the back," Mourinho said.
"The players tried. They raised the level of their intensity in spite of the fact we don’t have many with that intensity.
"We had probably a couple of the biggest chances to win it but I have accepted the result as a fair result."
Mourinho admitted United had focused on stopping Valencia causing them problems, even though they were at home, because his team are so badly lacking confidence at present.
"We tried to do something we did well, which was to stop a fast team on the counterattack. We knew we wouldn’t create 20 chances," he said.
"Our attacking players aren’t in their best moments of confidence and individual level. We thought with three or four chances we would score and win the game.
"It is not a bad result. Not a good result, but not bad. We have two matches against Juventus to make points. It is a very difficult group, yes.
"We have Newcastle [this weekend] before the league stops, then we have Chelsea and Juventus in three days. It will be good for the team if we can beat Newcastle."
Mourinho has been priced odds-on to be the first Premier League manager to leave his job this season. Bookmakers William Hill reckon he is an 8/11 bet, with Southampton’s Mark Hughes and Cardiff City’s Neil Warnock the second favourites to part ways with their clubs.
"Mourinho was hovering near the even-money mark [where £1 placed would earn a £1 back in addition to the £1 stake]. However, the draw against Valencia and the subsequent fallout has seen his odds of being the first manager to go plummet further," said William Hill spokesperson Joe Crilly.
Zinedine Zidane is the 8/11 favourite to be the next Manchester United manager, with Antonio Conte at 8/1 and Arsene Wenger 10/1.