Jose Mourinho accused his Manchester United players of shooting themselves in the foot as he saw his under-strength team gift Arsenal two goals in a 2-2 draw that extended their winless Premier League run to four games.
United, who started with Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku on the bench, showed great spirit to twice come back, with equalisers from Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard earning a much-needed point.
But, after a defeat at Manchester City and dispiriting draws with Crystal Palace and Southampton, United are now 18 points behind leaders City and actually closer to the relegation positions than they are first place.
United also trail Chelsea and Arsenal, who are now unbeaten in 20 games, by eight points in the battle for a place in the top four.
And Mourinho, who saw a bad David de Gea error and Marcos Rojo own goal twice hand Arsenal the lead, believes the performance continued their run of self-inflicted harm.
“We scored four goals and we drew 2-2,” said Mourinho jokingly. “But we scored four goals and even in matches like today where we play well, we always shoot ourselves.
“Our problem is finding a performance like this without the mistakes we made and we had very good performances where we make mistakes and we are always punished.”
Mourinho praised his players for their spirit shown on Wednesday but stopped short of saying they lack quality. “The boys left their soul, they left what they have,” he said, as quoted by The Guardian. “When sometimes people speak about the quality...”
He added, “It’s a positive sign but there are things that I cannot get from them, and I cannot say much more than this. But big soul, everybody gives everything. That is for sure and that is a positive feeling.
“I cannot tell you much more. I prefer just to say that I’m happy with the soul, the commitment, the bravery. I’m really happy with that. Our problem is [we need] a performance like this without the mistakes we made.”
Arsenal manager Unai Emery said he was proud of his players for their performance at Old Trafford, adding that the second half inspires confidence. “We controlled the game and if one team deserved to win, we did more,” he said.
With inputs from AFP