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Southampton 2-2 Manchester United: Romelu Lukaku scores in St Mary's draw

Romelu Lukaku scores for Manchester United against Southampton
Romelu Lukaku ended a 981-minute wait for a goal for Manchester United with his first-half strike

Manchester United are lacking in "mad dogs" in midfield, manager Jose Mourinho said after his side recovered from a terrible start but were still held to a disappointing draw at struggling Southampton.

Mourinho's side were facing an embarrassing defeat early on as the Saints went into a 2-0 lead inside the opening 20 minutes.

Marcus Rashford inspired a comeback before half-time, with two goals in six minutes from Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera earning the visitors a point, but it was another unconvincing display.

Mourinho - who played two midfielders in a back three because of injury problems - bemoaned his side's inability to take control of the match.

"It doesn't matter the system we play," Mourinho said. "(Not winning) has to do with the characteristics of the players.

"With all due respect, we don't have many mad dogs that bite the ball and press all the time. We don't have many people with that spirit."

Neither side were able to mount any real pressure in the second half, with the draw leaving the Saints in the relegation zone in 18th with just one win in their past 15 Premier League games, including last season.

Mark Hughes' side will reflect on a costly capitulation at the end of the first half after fine goals from Stuart Armstrong and Cedric Soares had seemingly put them in control.

United move seventh - still six points off a Champions League place and a massive 16 shy of the lead held by rivals Manchester City.

Makeshift and make do?

On the face of it, this is a bad result for a Manchester United side harbouring hopes of a top-four finish - but it could have been worse, as a Southampton side with just one league win all season punished a sloppy opening.

United have spent hundreds of millions of pounds under Mourinho but not for the first time this season started with a makeshift defence. Midfielders Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic started in a back three, with Marcos Rojo only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench.

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Southampton 2-2 Manchester United: Jose Mourinho always confident and doubtful

McTominay and Jones seemed to be in each other's way in the build-up to the opener, as Republic of Ireland youngster Michael Obafemi rolled the ball into Armstrong's path, and the former Celtic man drilled a fine strike across David de Gea and in.

Southampton had scored with their first attempt of the match, and added a second shortly after when Rashford made a rash challenge on the edge of the area and right-back Soares marked his 100th Premier League appearance with a first goal, brilliantly curling beyond De Gea from 20 yards.

United looked listless, but found the inspiration they were badly lacking in Rashford. First the 21-year-old collected a long ball, bounced through a half-hearted challenge from Maya Yoshida and laid a chance on a plate for Lukaku. Even without a club goal in 12 games and nearly three months, the Belgian couldn't miss.

Rashford then did even better shortly afterwards, beating three defenders on a surging run into the penalty area and finding Herrera at the near post, the Spaniard providing a clever backheeled finish under Alex McCarthy.

But that was where the excitement ended for United. In a largely lifeless second half their only shot on target was a tame overhead effort from Paul Pogba, and Mourinho's already stretched squad saw Luke Shaw, Rashford and Lukaku limp off late on, while Ashley Young picked up a fifth booking of the season which rules him out of Wednesday's league game at home to Arsenal.

'Rashford was a mad dog'

"I would say Marcus Rashford was a mad dog," Mourinho added.

"He was, let's say, very, very tired with little problems. That appetite, that desire, that fire that you have, you need that to recover the ball faster and to recover the ball higher on the pitch, but these are just details.

"He was injured, he was asking to come off. Some players with that kind of injury do not play for two weeks, but Marcus no, Marcus I am pretty sure he will be fine for the next one. It is one kick here, one kick there, one fall here, one fall there, fatigue, lots of running, lots of movement, 75 minutes and he was done."

Saints squander another lead

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Mark Hughes' final MOTD interview as Southampton boss: "Confidence has been enhanced"

Hughes said that he was "really pleased" with the point, but the former United forward has now won just three of his 21 league games in charge of the Saints, who stay in the relegation zone on nine points.

They have now squandered a league-high 12 points from winning positions this season, a statistic that could have telling consequences later on in the season.

The hosts were the better side in the second half, with the impressive Nathan Redmond forcing De Gea into a sharp save from long range, but they never really looked like forcing a much-needed winner.

"When you look at our performance and the table, we are not where we want to be. Are we under-performing compared to last year? Probably not," Hughes said.

"We have to get maximum points in games, everybody saw by the manner of our performance that we are a good side, we just have to keep working and performing."

Man of the match - Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford
He got United back on track almost single-handedly with two superb assists

Former England midfielder Danny Murphy on MOTD:

Rashford took responsibility in this game and if it wasn't for him United wouldn't have come back. Relying on a young player is wrong but he got them a point.

'Forget about the league table'

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera said: "We should forget right now about the table, we should try to win every game. That's how we will reach the top four.

"We should approach the Arsenal game like a final.

"It's two points dropped, but apart from that we can build from what we did after they scored the second goal."

No home joy for Saints - the stats

  • Southampton remain the only team in the Premier League yet to win a home game this season (D5 L2).
  • Mark Hughes has won just three of his past 25 Premier League games as a manager in the competition (W3 D9 L13).
  • Cedric Soares is the seventh player to score a direct free-kick for Southampton in the Premier League and first since James Ward-Prowse versus West Brom in February 2018.
  • Romelu Lukaku's strike versus Southampton has ended a run of 12 games and 981 minutes without a goal for Manchester United in all competitions since netting against Watford in September.

What's next?

It doesn't get any easier for Southampton, who travel to Wembley to take on Tottenham on Wednesday (20:00 GMT). Mourinho and United host old foes Arsenal on the same evening, also 20:00.

Line-ups

Southampton

  • 1McCarthy
  • 5Stephens
  • 3Yoshida
  • 4VestergaardBooked at 59mins
  • 43Valery
  • 23HøjbjergBooked at 35mins
  • 18LeminaBooked at 54minsSubstituted forDavisat 90+2'minutes
  • 2Cédric Soares
  • 17ArmstrongBooked at 90mins
  • 22Redmond
  • 61ObafemiSubstituted forGabbiadiniat 64'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Hoedt
  • 8Davis
  • 10Austin
  • 14Romeu
  • 16Ward-Prowse
  • 20Gabbiadini
  • 28Gunn

Man Utd

  • 1De Gea
  • 18YoungBooked at 90mins
  • 39McTominay
  • 4Jones
  • 31Matic
  • 23ShawSubstituted forDalotat 72'minutes
  • 21Herrera
  • 27FellainiBooked at 35mins
  • 6PogbaBooked at 53mins
  • 9LukakuSubstituted forLingardat 86'minutes
  • 10RashfordBooked at 18minsSubstituted forMartialat 77'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Mata
  • 11Martial
  • 14Lingard
  • 16Rojo
  • 17Fred
  • 20Dalot
  • 22Romero
Referee:
Kevin Friend
Attendance:
30,187

Match Stats

Home TeamSouthamptonAway TeamMan Utd
Possession
Home40%
Away60%
Shots
Home16
Away11
Shots on Target
Home6
Away5
Corners
Home3
Away5
Fouls
Home12
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Southampton 2, Manchester United 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Southampton 2, Manchester United 2.

  3. Booking

    Stuart Armstrong (Southampton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  4. Post update

    Ashley Young (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Stuart Armstrong (Southampton).

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

  7. Booking

    Ashley Young (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Ashley Young (Manchester United).

  9. Post update

    Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Southampton. Steven Davis replaces Mario Lemina.

  11. Post update

    Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton).

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Jesse Lingard replaces Romelu Lukaku.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Diogo Dalot (Manchester United).

  15. Post update

    Cédric Soares (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  16. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  17. Post update

    Delay in match Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) because of an injury.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Nathan Redmond with a cross following a corner.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Southampton. Conceded by David De Gea.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City1412204363738
2Liverpool1310302652133
3Tottenham13100323111230
4Chelsea1384128111728
5Arsenal1383228161227
6Everton136432015522
7Man Utd146442223-122
8Leicester146352017321
9Bournemouth146262321220
10Watford146261719-220
11Brighton145361620-418
12Wolves144461317-416
13West Ham144371722-515
14Crystal Palace143381017-712
15Newcastle143381119-812
16Cardiff143291327-1411
17Huddersfield14248924-1510
18Southampton141671226-149
19Burnley142391329-169
20Fulham132291433-198
View full Premier League table

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