Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho defended his tactics despite being dominated by Liverpool in a goalless draw at Anfield.
There was little in the way of goalmouth action from either side, with David de Gea pulling off a brilliant save to deny Philippe Coutinho and also saving well from Emre Can, and Mourinho left the ground happier than counterpart Jurgen Klopp.
United had just 35 per cent possession – the lowest registered by them in the Premier League since Opta started recording the statistic – in a performance which was a far cry from the dominant displays produced just a few years ago under Sir Alex Ferguson.
But Mourinho was unrepentant, insisting it was fully justified.
“The result I think is acceptable. We wanted more,” he said.
“For long periods in the game, we thought that could be possible but we didn’t score and if you don’t score you don’t win but I think it was a very positive performance.
“Last season United won here. Liverpool had 14 shots on target and United had one,” said the Portuguese.
“How many shots on target did Liverpool have on target? Two (official statistics actually recorded three).
“Two shots on target with 65 per cent of possession. You have to be critical of Liverpool. It is their problem, not our problem.”
While Mourinho was in classic deflection mode Klopp was inclined to agree with the sentiments, although that was in no way a criticism of his own side’s performance.
“We had 65 per cent possession but we have to do better. I didn’t expect we would have 10 to 15 chances,” he said.
“Second half we had chances but (David) De Gea made brilliant saves. They had that chance with (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic.
“We can do much better and we must do much better. We have to stay cool.
“It was a really good attitude of my side. They tried everything, only with the wrong tools.
“The best news is we have one point more and a clean sheet, nothing else.
“We had a few good moments but not enough to deserve the win.
“There is no reason for being frustrated. It is only one point but last year we lost against Manchester United so that is better.”
Liverpool are the first side this season to prevent United scoring in the Premier League, which was not as difficult as it sounded with Ibrahimovic able to only direct a far-post header back across an empty six-yard area instead of on target.
Mourinho, however, was not concerned.
“I am never critical of my players when they miss chances,” he added.
“It was a great chance, I know it was but it was not possible. He will score in one of the next games so no problem.”