United boss Jose Mourinho, never one to shy away from picking out individuals to blame, certainly did not need reminding after Saturday’s goalless draw with West Bromwich Albion that his side had missed another chance to put some pressure on the teams above them.
For all the talk of this current Red Devils crop showing the hallmarks of the new Invincibles,going 19 games since their last top-flight defeat, far too many draws during that run may well have cost them the chance of achieving their minimum league target of the season.
After being backed heavily last summer Mourinho was tipped to challenge at the top, seeing his side made second favourites for the title behind Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, yet with just six weeks of the season to go it looks like being a straight shootout between the city rivals for a Champions League berth.
The draw with West Brom, minus leading scorerZlatan Ibrahimovic up top, summed up where things have gone wrong for Mourinho’s men this term, as they racked up a total of 18 shots without finding a way past their former stopper Ben Foster, hitting the target on just three occasions.
Mourinho made clear at full time that he wasunhappy with the consistency being shown by his attacking players, reserving particular criticism for rookie forward Marcus Rashfordwho has been unable to step up in Ibrahimovic’s absence, largely due to spending the vast majority of the campaign shoved out wide to accommodate others.
Of the 19 games United have gone without defeat since going down to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in October, nine of them have ended all square, including home stalemates with the likes of Stoke City, Burnley, West Ham United, Hull City, Bournemouth and now West Brom.