Manchester United facing problems in attack and defence

Paul Pogba scored and provided the assist for Anthony Martial’s game-winning goal as Manchester United defeated Everton at Old Trafford.
Paul Pogba explains his stutter-step penalty style after Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Everton.

MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has said his team are facing problems at both ends of the pitch despite their 2-1 win over Everton.

United endured a nervous end at Old Trafford on Sunday after conceding a 77th-minute penalty from which Gylfi Sigurdsson scored — the 17th goal United have shipped this season and three more than Newcastle who are in the bottom three.

Ahead of the game, Mourinho dropped Romelu Lukaku, who has not scored since Sept. 15, replacing the Belgian with Marcus Rashford, who has scored one goal for his club this season.

The United boss was happy to collect a much-needed three points against Everton but refused to paper over the cracks.

“We are playing OK,” Mourinho said. “We are not as rock solid as I would like, we don’t have that killer instinct I would like.

“Some teams they have three chances and score three goals. Some teams without the ball, can resist and keep a clean sheet all the time.

“But for us in this moment it is is almost impossible to keep a clean sheet even with the phenomenal goalkeeper we have. And to score goals is really difficult for us — you can see that in this moment.

“In the last nine matches between Lukaku and Rashford they have scored one goal if I am not wrong.”

United’s victory was built on another impressive performance from Anthony Martial, who won a penalty in the first half and scored the second shortly after half-time.

It was his fourth goal in his last three Premier League games and Mourinho said afterwards the 22-year-old is finally starting to get the most out of his undoubted talent.

“He took quite a long time to understand what we want, quite a long time for his brain and body to be ready for how we want him to play,” Mourinho said. “At the moment he is playing very well. Even if he doesn’t score, to create what he is creating, it is a solid performance for the team.

“He is understanding things he did not before. He wants to play and he knows that to do that he has to go in a certain direction. His performance without the goal would be a good performance. 

“You cannot score every time you play, where you don’t assist but you have a certain balance. That is the way I think it is going now.”

After Martial had won the penalty after a trip in the box by Idrissa Gueye, Paul Pogba scored from the rebound after Jordan Pickford had saved his initial kick.

It is the second time the midfielder has missed a penalty this season after his slow run-up which took 26 steps.

Mourinho is happy for Pogba to keep taking penalties but has suggested he changes his trademark technique.

“The thing I like is the desire to take it,” he said. “I like the player that wants to take it. Paul, can he improve? I think he can.

“The goalkeepers know his running, they don’t move and they are waiting for his decision so he has to learn from that but for me the most important thing is he wants to go again.”

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