MANCHESTER: Jose Mourinho is angry. Wayne Rooney is angry. Manchester United fans are angry. The trouble is, all that anger is not being channelled in the right manner which would be to force up the level of the team’s form and results.
Apart from all that anger, the accountants are worried. United were denied what would have been a deserved victory over Arsenal at the weekend by a late headed equalised from Olivier Giroud.
That left them sixth in the table, six points adrift of the top four Champions League slots and this past week’s financial statement confirmed that the club will suffer a £20m drop in Adidas sponsorship cash if they miss out on Europe’s elite competition for a second successive season.
Manager Mourinho is angry because he is under pressure and believed referee Andre Marriner should have awarded United at least one penalty; captain Rooney is angry because he was caught out, partying, at 4am in the morning inbetween England’s two international matches last week.
The 31-year-old, who was wearing his England training kit at the time, has apologised “unreservedly” apologise to interim manager Gareth Southgate, the Football Association and young fans.
But he made a point of expressing his fury to journalists at Old Trafford, describing his treatment as “disgraceful” and showing “a lack of respect”. He added: “It feels as if the media are trying to write my obituary and I won’t let that happen. I love playing for my country and I am proud of my achievements to date – but I have not finished yet.”
Rooney appeared against Arsenal as a substitute in the second half for Anthony Martial but contributed little as United failed to press home the advantage provided by a fine goal from man of the match Juan Mata. For a third successive time United were denied victory in a home league match they had dominated.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, still without a victory over Mourinho in 12 league meetings, was relieved to escape with a point.
He said: “Our passing was not quick enough, our penetration was not there and in the end we looked like we had good possession of the ball but not many chances. In the second half we suffered for the first 20 minutes and they deserved to be in front. Last year we would have lost maybe this game and this time we didn’t lose it. So we have improved on that front.”
Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny looked insecure together for the first hour andwere grateful for the fine form of Petr Cech behind them. Mesut Ozil had a tidy game in midfield but was largely stifled and frustrated by United’s busy midfield.
Arsenal need him back at his most creative if they are to beat Paris Saint-Germain in north London on Wednesday and thus secure No1 slot in their Champions League group.