Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho admitted after the 1-1 draw with Everton that some of his players are struggling for confidence – before calling out the likes of Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford for their lack of goals.
Fifth-placed United salvaged a point via Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s stoppage time penalty for their 12th Premier League draw of the season, and ninth at home.
Mourinho, whose team fell behind in the 22nd minute through Phil Jagielka’s finish, said after the contest: ‘If we compare the second half with the first half, the second half was much better, and it was difficult to improve, because I could feel some of the boys a bit in trouble by the confidence levels.’
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho admits some of his players are low on confidence
Fifth-placed United salvaged a point vs Everton via Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s stoppage time penalty
Mourinho’s team fell behind in the 22nd minute through Phil Jagielka’s clever flicked finish
‘When the confidence levels are not high the quality of the performance is not easy to improve so we had to go through a short cut.
‘We started playing in a way where we don’t feel so much the lack of confidence of some of the boys, so we start playing more direct.
‘We tried everything and in the end the goal arrived. From the points point of view it is not that important – zero or one doesn’t make a huge difference – but it is a good feeling for the boys not to lose.’
Mourinho’s men are unbeaten in their last 20 league games, but he has no doubt they are not scoring enough goals.
‘Twenty matches unbeaten is amazing,’ he said. ‘I would sign immediately for that next year because in the modern Premier League it is really, really difficult to do – but we need to score goals to win matches.
‘We don’t score enough goals, it is as simple as that. The pragmatism is – how many goals have Rashford, Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Herrera, Pogba scored? How many goals from these attacking players? Not enough.’
Mourinho named players, including Paul Pogba, who he does not think score enough goals
He criticised Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who was dropped to the bench for the Tuesday night match
Mourinho said Marcus Rashford – without a league goal in seven months – is having trouble
Mourinho confirmed 19-year-old forward Rashford, who has not scored a league goal since September, was one of those having trouble on the confidence front, but described him as ‘an amazing professional’ and stressed ‘the only thing he deserves is support.’
With regard to Luke Shaw, Mourinho was less emphatic in his praise. After being left out of United’s squad over the weekend despite being fit and publicly criticised by Mourinho, Shaw returned to the 18 for this match.
He made a key contribution after coming on in the 65th minute, with the penalty being awarded when his strike was handled by Ashley Williams, who was sent off.
Mourinho said Shaw had produced a ‘very positive performance’, but also claimed he had been ‘making every decision’ for the left-back.
Mourinho said Luke Shaw had produced a ‘positive performance’ – but also criticised him
He said: ‘He had a good performance but it was his body with my brain, because he was in front of me and I was making every decision for him.
‘We need at this level the fantastic body he has to play football, the fantastic physical qualities he has, the very good technical ability he has – but he cannot play with my understanding of the game.
‘He must understand the game, he must think, and he must accelerate the process. 21 years old is old enough to have a better understanding of the game – but his contribution was good.
‘He goes today in a positive feeling because his performance was very positive. I’m happy with what he gave us.’