José Mourinho blames Manchester United's forwards for Anderlecht draw

'I'm doing a job on the pitch': Paul Pogba hits out against his critics

'I'm doing a job on the pitch': Paul Pogba hits out against his critics

Jose Mourinho piled the blame for Manchester United's failure to win at Anderlecht on his attackers, but maintained that it was a "positive" result for the Old Trafford side as they take an away goal back to Manchester.

He told BT Sport: "In my poor English I can not find a better word [than sloppy]".

Mourinho's side are now fifth in the standings - in the Europa League spot - and are four points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City.

"We start the game at Old Trafford in front, but we had all the conditions to kill the game".

"This has happened all season". It's about the half chances, because the space is there, the time is there, but the end decision is not.

"We have an easy game to play in the second half and we didn't-we lost the ball easily. We have chances, we have control, we don't score goals".

And captain Michael Carrick was equally annoyed at conceding a late equaliser against Belgian League leaders Anderlecht.

"We need to be more ruthless".

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"It was nearly too easy at times and we got sloppy and lost possession".

It was a damning assessment from the long-serving midfielder, albeit Carrick knows the result is "not the end of the world" given Mkhitaryan's away goal. We were solid defensively, but that's not just about the defenders.

"They did defensively what we asked them to do".

Barcelona won the Champions League in 2015 with Marc-Andre ter Stegen playing every European game ahead of La Liga first-choice Claudio Bravo, while Arsene Wenger, to Arsenal's cost, stuck with David Ospina ahead of Petr Cech for the Champions League mauling at the hands of Bayern Munich earlier this season.

Prior to this game, Romero had kept 15 clean sheets in 22 appearances for United, so Mourinho can at least bank on his No. 2 to perform at a high level if he keeps faith with him.

The constant dropping of points, two at a time, has left United marooned outside the top four in the league, and against Anderlecht, their inability to finish the tie off means they will face an anxious second leg in Manchester next week. The defenders did the serious work, but the people who had to kill the game didn't. As such, they will go into the return game as heavy favourites, expecting to progress to the semifinals and move to within 180 minutes of next month's final in Stockholm.

United led 1-0 in Belgium until the 86th minute when the hosts equaliser with their first effort on target.

Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC.

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