Sports Football 29 Nov 2016 English Premier Leag ...

English Premier League: Manchester United lose more ground

AFP
Published Nov 29, 2016, 1:33 am IST
Updated Nov 29, 2016, 1:34 am IST
Draw with West Ham sees Red Devils slip to sixth on points table.
Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (second from right) vies for the ball with West Ham United players in their English Premier League match at Old Trafford on Sunday (Photo: AFP)
 Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (second from right) vies for the ball with West Ham United players in their English Premier League match at Old Trafford on Sunday (Photo: AFP)

London: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was sent off as his side lost more ground in the Premier League title race by drawing 1-1 with West Ham United on Sunday.

After Diafra Sakho’s second-minute opener was cancelled out by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho was sent to the stands for kicking a water bottle in protest at Paul Pogba’s booking for diving.

 

It was United’s fourth successive home draw in the league — a first since 1980 — and left them 11 points below leaders Chelsea in sixth place. United assistant manager Rui Faria, filling in for Mourinho, told BBC Sport: “We all believe the results will appear. The referee explained it to Jose and there is nothing more to say. I think it was frustration from Jose after the yellow card for Pogba.

“It should be a foul for us, but the referee understood it in another way.”
Mourinho made six changes to his starting XI at Old Trafford, but his bench created the biggest stir as formerly exiled midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger made an unexpected return to the match-day squad.

 

West Ham needed just 90 seconds to go ahead as Dimitri Payet’s free-kick from the right was headed in by Sakho. In the 21st minute, Pogba’s deep cross was nodded in by Ibrahimovic.

Moments later referee Jonathan Moss booked Pogba for diving after the France midfielder took evasive action as Mark Noble moved in to tackle him. Mourinho reacted by furiously kicking a plastic bottle and was duly sent to the stands.
Wayne Rooney and Henrikh Mkhitaryan came on for United in the second half. Jesse Lingard saw a goal chalked off for offside after Mkhitaryan had hit the post, while United were indebted to goalkeeper David de Gea for a crucial late save to deny Ashley Fletcher. United will hope their luck changes when West Ham return to Old Trafford in the League Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.

 

Everton on the slide
In Southampton, Ronald Koeman admitted his growing concern at Everton’s decline in form after his side slumped to a 1-0 defeat at the manager’s former club Southampton.

Charlie Austin’s goal, scored after just 41 seconds, secured Saints’ victory, leaving Koeman’s Everton with just one win in their last eight games.

The promise of the opening weeks of the season has quickly disappeared at Goodison Park and Koeman admitted he was left frustrated at his side’s display.
The opening seconds of the game highlighted a lack of organisation at the back and while the Merseysiders improved in the second period, they did not muster and attempt on target until added time.

 

Koeman said: “I’m not worried about results, worried about what I see on the pitch, how we start game, have difficulties to be organised defensively and stop the opponents.

“I’m worried because the wake up call, how we played in first half, and again today, and to concede goal after one minute — not what can happen.”
Koeman conceded his forwards must do better and admitted he expected more from Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku.

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