Belfast Telegraph

Mourinho laments 'two points lost' despite Rooney's late heroics

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho was left lamenting his side's struggle to convert their chances after a 1-1 draw at Stoke.

United dominated possession in the Premier League encounter at the Bet365 Stadium and carved out a host of goalscoring opportunities.

But having failed to make the most of them thanks to a combination of their profligacy and some heroics at the back from Stoke, they went into stoppage time still trailing to Juan Mata's 19th-minute own goal.

Substitute Wayne Rooney then swept in a superb free-kick in the fourth additional minute to become the club's outright all-time leading goalscorer and secure a draw that extended United's unbeaten run in all competitions to 17 games.

Mourinho was delighted for Rooney, but said more generally of his team: "I am saying for a long time that one day we will score every chance of the match and somebody will go home with six or seven in the basket.

"But the reality is that day never arrives and we always struggle so much to score goals.

"We hit the bar, the goalkeeper saved, we missed an easy chance and in the end we risked to lose the match by scoring in our own goal, and we have to wait for minute 90-something to equalise.

"In spite of keeping a phenomenal unbeaten run and showing amazing character, it is not a good result - I think we lost two points."

Asked if he had feared no goal was coming, Mourinho said: "Of course, because during the season it has happened to us so many times, having chances but not scoring the goals.

"It was a very difficult match. Stoke started strong and after that they defended with absolutely everything, with great emotion, great aggression - not the negative one - and they did everything to try to defend their goal.

"But in spite of that, it is a match we have to win."

Shortly after taking charge at United over the summer, Mourinho declared he was aiming for the title this season.

They lie sixth, 11 points behind Chelsea who also have a game in hand, but the Portuguese said: "I set the target because I think you cannot do a different thing at Manchester United, and I think there is no better way to have some evolution in many aspects than to set the target really high.

"For some reason Manchester United in the last three seasons didn't win the title, in football it is very difficult and we are improving in many aspects.

"For me, the biggest improvement is the fact that the next match we want to win - it doesn't matter the opponent, the competition, we go to every match with that mentality.

"Obviously you do not win all the time, and in our case in the Premier League we drew too many matches. Today we showed why, because the opponent score even without creating one single chance and for us to score we have to create six, seven chances. So it is hard."

Mourinho also confirmed defender Marcos Rojo - who watched the game from the away end - had missed out due to illness, while his response when asked about Anthony Martial's absence from the squad was simply to say the forward "was not selected".

Stoke boss Mark Hughes felt his players had "put a great shift in" and expressed his bafflement at the timekeeping at the end, something he thinks should not be the responsibility of the referee.

"When you get to 94, 95 minutes, I am scratching my head in terms of the referee (Mark Clattenburg) and where he got the five minutes from," Hughes said.

"The sooner they get someone in the stand with a stopwatch to take the timekeeping away from the referees the better in my view, but that is for another day.

"You get to that late stage in the game and you think you are going to win it, and when you concede, it feels like a defeat.

"But we'll wake up in the morning and realise we have had two games this season against Man United, home and away, and we haven't been beaten (the reverse fixture in October was also a 1-1 draw), so we'll take credit for that."

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