Jose Mourinho insisted in the build-up to Sunday’s clash with Stoke City that he needs more time to get things the way he wants them at Manchester United. And, after Joe Allen made the most of an error by David de Gea to earn a 1-1 draw, his assertion that United are nowhere near the finished article is clear for all to see.
After Anthony Martial had come off the bench to give them the lead with 21 minutes to go, this was a game they should have been able to see out with something to spare. Instead, their normally-reliable goalkeeper – Player of the Year for three seasons running – spilled what seemed a straight-forward save and they were made to pay.
But, while De Gea will be thrust under the spotlight in a game when his opposite number Lee Grant earned countless plaudits, there must also be questions as to how United did not have the game dead and buried by half-time just as they had against Leicester City eight days ago.
Their first-half performance was a repeat of that display in all but the scoreline as they scythed through Stoke time and again but couldn’t put the chances away. Zlatan Ibrahimovic could have given them the lead inside two minutes after superb play by Paul Pogba, but gave Grant a chance by firing towards the near post instead of the far. Both he and Pogba had further chances later in the first half but couldn’t deliver.
This is a club known for their showmanship, teamwork and consistency!
Has the mighty fallen? Only time shall tell.