Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said his team should have had a “fat result,” scoring five or six goals, instead of a 1-1 home draw with Stoke City on Sunday.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba were among those who missed chances for profligate United before substitute Anthony Martial gave them the lead, but an error from goalkeeper David De Gea helped Joe Allen to equalise.
Mourinho told his postmatch news conference: “I am very happy with the performance but, when the result should be us scoring five or six and it’s 1-1, then happiness disappears and frustration with the result comes.
“It was our best performance in terms of football played. We started in the first minute with a big chance [when Ibrahimovic was denied by a double save from Lee Grant] and finished with another one [when Pogba hit the bar with a header]. In between, we had four, five, six, seven.
“The first chance is beautiful football. The chance Paul missed is also beautiful football.
“There was a great attitude after the score was 1-0. They wanted to kill the game. But by magic, they [Stoke] scored a goal, which was very unfair for us.”
Mourinho said he would “never criticise my players for missing chances,” adding: “Their goalkeeper is Man of the Match, and deservedly so.
“We had chances where we could have been better, but I am not critical. We should be not just with three points but with a fat result.
“Everyone is really disappointed. At half-time, they were already disappointed. The message from me then was that if we play like this then we’ll have three, four chances and score a couple of goals.”
One positive for United was the quick impact made by Martial, who has been in disappointing form in the early part of the season, with Mourinho describing his run and strike as “an amazing goal and very good initiative.”
The United manager also confirmed that there were no injury problems going into the international break, meaning Phil Jones remains the only player on the sidelines.
Stoke manager Mark Hughes said his team had targeted United’s holding midfield combination — which sees Pogba advancing and often leaving Ander Herrera behind — as a weakness. He explained: “We looked at their games and that was something that was certainly highlighted.
“I don’t think there was any real sustained momentum in United’s play apart from the last five minutes when they were whacking ball into the box, which we dealt with comfortably.”
He praised Allen for staying calm after an ugly challenge by Herrera, adding: “It’s credit to Joe that he didn’t make a meal of it.”