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Mourinho sent off as Manchester United draw West Ham 1-1
There is a blurred line between avant-garde genius and insanity in the managerial world, and the only determining metric is success. When Jose Mourinho wins, he looks like a genius. Yet his brazen tactics and touchline temperament once again seemed self-destructive as his dominant Manchester United team were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw by West Ham United on Sunday evening.
The Portuguese manager has been prone to boiling over as Manchester United have slipped down the Premier League table in a frustrating string of matches this fall, and he was sent to the stands for dissent for the third time this year for kicking a bottle towards the stands after Paul Pogba was booked for diving. This being less than a month after he was fined and suspended for questioning Anthony Taylor’s suitability to officiate, he faces yet another touchline ban.
Mourinho’s antics overshadowed United’s blunt performance at Old Trafford and, as his numerous critics would argue, potentially detracted from United’s attempted comeback. Diafra Sakho headed West Ham in front after just a minute-and-a-half and although the Red Devils mounted a spirited resurgence, their cause was belied by lackadaisical finishing.
The Red Devils were caught off guard by The Hammers early on as Sakho dove ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to head home Dimitri Payet’s near-post cross in the opening minutes.
United produced numerous chances that showcased their increasingly strong creative bonds in the middle of the park, and Ibrahimovic’s equalizer exemplified the capacity of Mourinho’s United. Paul Pogba clipped a long, raking pass over the top to Zlatan, who used his entire six-foot-five-inch frame to flick a lovely header past Darren Randolph and into the back of the net.
Just as United seemed to be gaining momentum, however, Mourinho stole the spotlight — screaming at the fourth official and angrily kicking a water bottle away after Paul Pogba was correctly booked for a blatant dive. Referee Jonathan Moss wasted no time in marching straight up to Mourinho and dramatically pointing towards the stands so all could bear witness to the sending off.
Although the home side kept pushing forward, West Ham maintained a sturdy line of defense. Ibrahimovic set up Jesse Lingard on the volley in the thirty-fourth minute, but the Englishman fired over and the close-range chance went begging. Henrikh Mkhitaryan hit the right-hand post and Pogba forced Randolph into a superb stop with a low, bouncing drive from twenty-five yards as United attempted to nip the win in a grandstand finish. Yet they failed to turn their dominance into victory and, not for the first time this season, will feel let down by their finishing and, should this dry spell continue, their manager.
Homepage photo credit: Aleksandr Osipov [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons