Jose Mourinho has leapt to the defence of Manchester United’s relatively poor home record in the Premier League this season.
Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at home to Everton was the side’s ninth in the league this season out of fifteen games, and despite losing only once at Old Trafford (a 2-1 reversal to Manchester City in the derby back in September), they have just the tenth best record on their own turf this campaign – worse than all of their top six rivals as well as Everton, Burnley, Leicester and West Brom.
Mourinho, however, has looked at that loss record (rather than anything else) and claimed that it is a sign that teams now fear coming to Old Trafford once again.
Man United are on the road this weekend as they take on relegation-threatened Sunderland but the home record was still a major talking point, with the manager telling the gathered media that opponents’ defending and refereeing decisions have contributed to the multitude of draws:
“I still think in spite of the bad result – a draw is a bad result – we are strong at home,’ said Mourinho. ‘Why? Because we lost only one game (against Manchester City) and that one game we know why we lost because strange things happened during the match.
“The way opponents play against us has been a big change. Before, because I saw it, they came here thinking they could win and many times lost to a counter-attack goal.
“But we are not strong enough or good enough to score the goals we should. I repeat, and it is not criticism, many decisions that punished us during the whole season.
“I still think we are strong at home. That is my feeling. It’s good to know we don’t lose many matches and we have a fantastic run of 20 matches unbeaten.
“I know 10 draws are 10 points. Five wins and five defeats is 15 points. What is better? The 15 points obviously. But in terms of looking to the future, I prefer to look at 10 matches and 10 draws.
“You have something that is not easy to have. You are quite solid mentally, difficult to beat, and fighting against circumstances. A mentality of resilience is good to have.”
Despite Mourinho’s attempts to convince otherwise, it’s hard not to look at Man United’s home record this season and come to the conclusion that the team has a problem in seeing matches out at Old Trafford. Indeed, the current manager has the worst home record of any of his predecessors in the Premier League era:
Jose Mourinho currently has the worst home win rate of any Manchester United manager in the Premier League ? pic.twitter.com/49562kFGi3
— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) April 5, 2017
With 27 points earned at home thus far, Mourinho needs four more to better the 30 David Moyes and Ryan Giggs collected in 2013/14 – though even the maximum 36 that can now be earned would still be well below the average that Man United have earned on home soil down in the last couple of decades:
— Sky Football ⚽️ (@SkyFootball) April 4, 2017
On paper, those five points should be achievable, but against a formidable Chelsea, and Swansea and Crystal Palace sides fighting feverishly against the drop, it is by no means guaranteed.