Jose Mourinho admits pressure is on Manchester United following poor run
By Michael Kelleher
Last Updated: 07/12/18 2:00pm
Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United are beginning to discover their "mad-dog" mentality but knows points are more important than performances.
United have dropped to eighth in the Premier League table, 18 points adrift of Manchester City, after a run of four games without a victory.
Mourinho stated after last Saturday's 2-2 draw with Southampton that his side lacked "mad dogs" willing to fight for the team but he was more pleased with his side's display against Arsenal on Wednesday, when they twice battled back from a goal down to earn another 2-2 draw.
"There are special players with special characteristics," Mourinho said, ahead of the visit of Fulham to Old Trafford on Saturday.
"Just to give you a couple of examples - [Ander] Herrera, [Marcus] Rashford - they are the kind of players that even if their game was not phenomenal, that intensity, that desire, that passion and that sacrifice is always present.
"But I prefer to say that the team as a team had that mentality.
"We have to try to transport that to this game. I know that it is only two days. I know that it is not easy.
"But no excuses. I sat here a few weeks ago speaking about the December month and no defeats - that is a reality - good fights and good spirit but just one victory against Young Boys and three draws.
"We need points."
Mourinho's side have been criticised for their lack of running of season.
Through 15 games, United have covered 1,618km (averaging 108km per game) and made 1472 sprints (averaging 98 per game). Both those totals rank 16th in the league.
Liverpool and Manchester City are first and second in sprints while Arsenal and Tottenham are first and second in distance covered.
Mourinho appears to have taken the criticism on board as he was keen to point out his team improved in those areas against the Gunners.
United covered 108.5km, which is just above their season average, while Arsenal covered 114.5km.
They made 119 sprints, which is a significant increase on their season average, and that was more than 97 managed by Arsenal.
Mourinho said: "The stats for me sometimes support our feelings and ideas, and sometimes are a contradiction, but in this case I think it is a confirmation that with the numbers my team ran more, and with high intensity too.
"We pressed the ball more. We put difficulties to the opponent. We were fast in our transitions so we had that spirit, that mentality that brought our game to a better level."
United have a lengthy injury list heading into this weekend's game. Alexis Sanchez (hamstring) and Victor Lindelof (muscular injury) remain out.
Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Anthony Martial will have their fitness assessed on Friday.
"The training session at 11 o'clock will give us some answers," Mourinho said. "Smalling, Jones, Martial, Bailly - of course Lindelof and Alexis, we don't even speak about them - but we need answers.
"For sure we are going to play with players not in the maximum of their potential but players that will themselves available for the team like Smalling did in the last match, like Jones did against Southampton."