£300m is not enough, says mournful Jose Mourinho

Jesse Lingard’s second-half heroics may have plastered over some of the cracks in Manchester United’s season, but Jose Mourinho was left to count the cost of a damaging six days.

£300m is not enough, says mournful Jose Mourinho

Defeat at Championship side Bristol City, the injury-time equaliser conceded at Leicester, and now an injury-time equaliser of their own to salvage a point against Burnley. In less than a week, Mourinho has seen his team end their defence of the Carabao Cup and fall a further four points behind champions-elect Manchester City in the Premier League table.

And, without Lingard, it could all have been so much worse as first-half goals from Ashley Barnes and Steven Defour left Burnley on course for their first victory at Old Trafford in over 55 years.

Despite the second-half recovery, the fact United can fall a mammoth 15 points behind first place in the table tonight was clearly playing on Mourinho’s mind as he declared some dramatic home truths about his team’s standing in the league, as a “big club,” and the comparison with leaders Manchester City specifically.

“There are many big clubs and you say big clubs, I know what is a big club,” said Mourinho, who has spent £300m (€340m) as United manager.

“One thing is a big club and another thing is a big football team that you know is not one of the best teams in the world. So when you speak about responsibilities to win the Premier League, Tottenham does not have that responsibility, Tottenham is not a club with the same history as us.

“Arsenal doesn’t have the responsibility to win it, Chelsea doesn’t have the responsibility to win it. Manchester City buy full-backs for the price of the strikers, so when you speak about big football clubs, you are speaking about the history of the club.

“£300m is not enough, is not enough. And the price for the big clubs, the price for the big clubs is different from the other clubs, so the big, historical clubs are normally punished in the market for that history, so the boys are doing what they can and they are doing fine.”

Mourinho certainly did not appear happy by the interval against Burnley. Off came Zlatan Ibrahimovic, prematurely ending his first start for the club in nine months, and Marcos Rojo and on came Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

It was a dramatic gamble with Nemanja Matic playing as a deep-lying midfielder and Phil Jones effectively the only centre-half, marking Burnley striker Ashley Barnes.

Yet within five minutes, Lingard should have opened his, and United’s, account when he met Ashley Young’s cross but somehow struck his shot against Pope from inside the six-yard area then saw the ricochet loop up, hit the bar, and fly to safety.

It took Lingard just three minutes to make amends, however, with a sublime finish, back-heeling Young’s right-wing cross past his marker, Kevin Long, and into the corner of the Burnley net.

That heralded the start of a relentless procession towards the Burnley goal although there was not too much to unduly trouble the excellent Nick Pope until Lingard’s 91st-minute equaliser.

It came from a Juan Mata free-kick, half-cleared by Ben Mee to the edge of the area where Young struck an effort that ricocheted kindly, via the same Burnley defender, and into the path of Lingard who converted clinically through a crowded area.

Old Trafford, which had produced a smattering of boos as their players left the field at the interval, responded with relief and delight.

Burnley had needed barely two minutes to take the lead, from a free-kick conceded by Rojo on Jeff Hendrick. Johann Berg Gudmundson took the set-piece which badly exposed United’s defensive frailties as the ball struck Romelu Lukaku in the chest and, with his teammates slow to respond, it was left for Barnes to poke the ball in from close range.

Worse would follow after 36 minutes when Young tripped Scott Arfield, 25 yards out and dead centre in front of the United goal, presenting Defour with the perfect opportunity to send a magnificent right-foot free-kick soaring into the top left-hand corner.

MAN UNITED (4-4-2):

De Gea 5; Young 7, Jones 5, Rojo 5 (Mkhitaryan 45, 7), Shaw 7; Mata 7, Pogba 6, Matic 7, Rashford 5; Lukaku 5, Ibrahimovic 5 (Lingard 45, 8).

Subs (not used):

Lindelof, Blind, Romero, Herrera, Tuanzebe.

BURNLEY (4-4-1-1):

Pope 8; Bardsley 6, Long 7, Mee 7, Taylor 7; Gudmundsson 6, Cork 6, Defour 7 (Vokes 66, 6), Arfield 6; Hendrick 7; Barnes 7 (Walters 80, 6).

Subs (not used):

Lowton, Marney, Westwood, Wells, Lindegaard.


M Atkinson 6

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