Mourinho: Manchester United ‘scored four goals, drew 2-2’

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Jose Mourinho had the one-liner after Manchester United gifted a pair of goals to Arsenal, twice battling back to level the score in a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

“We scored four goals, and we drew 2-2,” he said.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 2-2 Arsenal ]

David De Gea mishandled a bouncing shot for Arsenal’s first goal and Marcos Rojo gave the ball away before conceding an own goal with a last ditch effort, but Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard scored equalizers for Mourinho’s men.

“As always we made mistakes, and we paid for those mistakes,” Mourinho said. “Many many times we make mistakes behind and we pay for that. Today was more of the same but we had great spirit. We were a team with people really ready to have a go and fight hard.”

Mourinho left Paul Pogba on the bench to start the game, and handed starts to several unusual players including Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly, and Rojo.

He praised their efforts, in what may’ve been a small dig at Pogba (but perhaps we’re reading a bit into it).

“The feeling of our players going to the limit, being really tired, people that didn’t play all season some of them. Diogo it’s the first start, Rojo the first minute, Bailly after so, so long, Chris Smalling playing in conditions only he, myself, and the medical department know. Everybody giving everything. They were dangerous only when we lost the ball, and we lost the ball badly in dangerous areas.”

United is eight points back of the Top Four, and hosts Fulham on Saturday.

Arsenal unbeaten in 20 after Man Utd draw

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  • De Gea error gifts opener
  • Martial, Lingard score
  • Rojo giveaway previews own goal

Jesse Lingard scored a minute after Marcos Rojo conceded an own goal as Manchester United twice equalized in a 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Wednesday at Old Trafford.

Arsenal has not won a Premier League match at United since 2007, and drops fifth with 31 points. United stays eighth, tied with two teams on 23 points.

Shkrodan Mustafi gave Arsenal a lead, helped by a rare David De Gea error, but Anthony Martial had it 2-1 at the brek.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Goal Decision System helped Arsenal ahead in the 26th mintue when David De Gea couldn’t handle an up-bounding Mustafi header and Ander Herrera‘s clearance was just past the goal line.

United had an answer in the 31st as Leno palmed a Marcos Rojo free kick toward the end line but Herrera kept it in bounds with an industrious effort that went right to Martial.

Rob Holding was stretchered off the field soon after, forcing Stephane Lichsteiner to take his place.

Things took a scrappy turn with five yellow cards, three to United. Nemanja Matic joined Rojo, Jesse Lingard, Mustafi, and Hector Bellerin in the book.

Arsenal found the goal next through a double Rojo error. The Argentine gave the ball away, then charged down Alexandre Lacazette and pushed the ball into his own goal. 2-1, 69′

But Lingard scored in less than a minute! Sead Kolasinac‘s sloppy touch of a loose ball allowed Lingard to poke an equalizer through Leno’s legs.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Messi, Rojo react to Argentina win: ‘Well-deserved joy’

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Marcos Rojo was in tears after his late goal lifted Argentina from the dregs of its footballing history into the knockout rounds of the World Cup.

[ MORE: Croatia tops Iceland ]

Rojo blasted a volley from Gabriel Mercado home as the match-winner of a 2-1 Group D finale against Nigeria, joining a marvelous Lionel Messi opener on the score sheet.

And Rojo was very much here for Messi.

“Lionel Messi had told the guys he was going to score a goal more than ever. The goal is for my family and for this group that deserves it. Let’s go Argentina!”

Messi was effusive in his praise for his teammates, Argentine people, and even a more holy spirit.

“We were confident that we would win this game. It’s wonderful to have won it this way. It is a well-deserved joy. I knew that God is with us and he was not going to leave us out. I thank all the people who are here, for all their sacrifice, and all those who are in Argentina who were always with us. The shirt of the national team is above all.”

Religious enthusiasm aside, we’re grateful that Messi’s World Cup story plays on (though there wasn’t a team in Group D without plenty of reason for our support). Against France, though, Messi may need some archangels to come down play defense for Argentina.

Rojo’s reaction to Sanchez joining Man Utd was priceless

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Speaking to an Argentine publication while on duty, the Manchester United defender shared a number of interesting tidbits.

[ MORE: Young backs Luke Shaw ]

The first, and perhaps funnier one, came from a family visit to Manchester for the Christmas holiday, as Rojo set off a bunch of fireworks in his neighborhood, one he did not realize was shared with United legend Alex Ferguson.

Rojo said Ferguson saw him the next day and congratulated him on “the light show,” with the defender quipping that he thought he might be on his way out of the Old Trafford set-up.

But the more quotable translation comes from the Argentine learning that Chilean superstar and Premier League rival Alexis Sanchez was traded Arsenal red for the same hue at United.

Rojo said Sanchez has turned out to be a lovely guy, but that doesn’t change his initial shock at the news. From TYC Sports, translated by The Mirror,

“Every time we came up against one another, whether in internationals or when United played Arsenal, I would give him a good kicking – and he did the same to me.

“On top of that I used to insult him, and he would reply in kind. So when I learned that he was going to join United I said: ‘Oh, ******* hell, no, now this guy’s going to be here’.”

It likely happens more often than we know, given the competitive nature and furious tackling at the highest level. The old cliche “You’d love him if he was on your team” leaves out the fact that he’s also no longer on the opposition, beating you up.

Not to mention, there’s always that opening conversation, “Hey, that thing I said about your parents…”

Premier League Preview: Manchester United vs. Southampton

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  • Man Utd has won last four across all comps, inc. EFL Cup Final
  • Saints won at Old Trafford, Jan. 2016
  • Man Utd leads all-time 64W-31D-27L

Stung Southampton sits just two points above the relegation zone, and visits an angry Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

The Red Devils, after all, are coming off a disappointing 2-2 draw with Burnley in which they needed a pair of goals from Jesse Lingard to come back from a two-goal hole.

But that setback is nothing compared to what happened to Saints, 5-2 losers at Wembley Stadium against Tottenham Hotspur.

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho admitted Friday that Romelu Lukaku is tired but the club cannot afford to give its big striker a break.

What they’re saying

United’s Marcos Rojo on low travel“It helps tremendously, above all for our recovery periods because travelling really tires you out, so I think the fact that we have got two at home and one pretty close by over that period means we can get some rest and hopefully go into those games feeling as fresh as possible.”

Saints’ Oriol Romeu on rebounding from Spurs blowout“We understand the frustration of the fans but it happens in football. I have been here in a similar situation before and I know how it feels. We appreciate the support and what the fans keep doing for us and that is exactly what we need. We want to thank them and tell them that together we will be stronger and together we can get back to where we want to be.”

Prediction

United has too much firepower, even against an ornery Saints side, and will find the net a few times at Old Trafford. United 3-1.