Jose Mourinho bemoaned the way his Manchester United team shot themselves in the foot against Arsenal but was notably delighted with the effort produced by his players in a crazy 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.
David de Gea, of all people, let his team down by parrying a benign header over the line to give Arsenal the lead, before Anthony Martial equalised soon after with his eighth goal of the season.
A bonkers second half then materialised: mistakes all over the pitch, Marcos Rojo playing like Fabio Cannavaro, Marcos Rojo suddenly giving away a goal, Jesse Lingard equalising literally seconds afterwards, players kicking each other all over the shop, followed by a tense, scrappy finish during which De Gea made three important saves.
Mourinho, speaking after the game, made a point of praising the entire back five which started the game for leaving their souls on the pitch.
Mourinho: “We shoot ourselves so many times during the season. Big soul by the players, fantastic attitude from the first minute. Some good performances, some players in difficulty, Dalot, Rojo, Darmian, Bailly, Smalling – the boys left their souls.” #mufc
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) December 5, 2018
The 55-year-old demanded more ‘mad-dogs’ after drawing with Southampton. He certainly got that in a game which, albeit lacking any discernible quality, certainly entertained through its intensity and occasional madness.
It was a game in which all four goals could have been avoided in different ways. And yet, the mistakes from De Gea and Rojo, coupled with Arsenal capitulating right after scoring on both occasions, felt somewhat fitting on an evening which brought more chaos than design.
At the end of it, though, United remain eight points off the top four, and you could not say they deserve to be any closer.