Finishing second not ideal but it fills Jose with belief

Mark Lawrenson

Paul Merson believes he's noticed something about Manchester United's players that shows they're too afraid to play under current manager Jose Mourinho.

And while United still have an FA Cup final left this season, and have improved their league position hugely from last term, they are still so far off the pace in so many ways - not just points on the board.

Manchester City stormed to the Premier League title this season under Pep Guardiola, breaking a number of records along the way.

And while he said United had been the ones pushing for three points at the London Stadium, he admitted having the point the club needed to secure second spot in the Premier League became a factor as the game wore on. "When it is not possible to be champions, second position is the best available which was what we got".

"I am not critical of the performance at all".

"We are the second best team in the Premier League, a fantastic competition with a lot of good teams with six teams trying to finish first", he said.

"We have one more game on Sunday and we want to finish strong, then we can go forward to next season".


While some suggested Noble should have sent off for grabbing Pogba's face, United boss Jose Mourinho had a rather different view of the incident.

The 55-year-old admitted he was unsure of where his future lies after West Ham's 0-0 draw with Manchester United on Thursday, and Sunday's clash against another of his former clubs - Everton - will likely be his last game in charge.

With West Ham already safe from relegation, it often played at preseason-friendly pace, something not helped by the sunny evening and the half-full stadium.

Defender Chris Smalling added: "It's job done, we knew that second place was ours for the taking".

"I will play some players that didn't play against West Ham", he revealed. Both players were booked. Adrian produced a brilliant double save to keep out efforts from Alexis Sanchez and Shaw before pushing away a long-range Sanchez strike on the stroke of half-time.

But with the game played at a very low tempo and with a distinct end-of-season feel, the first half ended without a goal when Adrian denied Lingard again in stoppage-time. Subs not used: Hugill, Obiang, Hart, Evra, Fernandes, Cullen.

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