>It feels peculiar that sixth-placed Manchester United have not lost in the Premier League since October. That’s probably because during those six months a number of their 10 top-flight draws have felt like defeats. They’ve drawn a total of 12 times in the league this season, with a staggering nine of those coming at Old Trafford. The stalemates have been put down to wasteful and/or unlucky finishing. Perhaps, though, there’s a deeper layer to this: Jose Mourinho’s players are not completely at ease in that split second of striking or heading the ball goalwards because maybe at the back of their minds they fear their manager’s ire.
Mourinho has not been shy in hanging certain United players out to dry this campaign, with left-back Luke Shaw the latest to feel his wrath. Footballers, of course, should not be mollycoddled and free of any sort of criticism, but when results are not going a side’s way for the same profligate reason then certainly something needs to change. “… I could feel some of the boys a bit in trouble by the confidence levels,” Mourinho said after his team’s late 1-1 draw with Everton. Fortunately for United they face a Sunderland side on Sunday with arguably the most-crushed confidence in the division, and it’s also away from home. Football might be a peculiar beast but surely Sunderland’s David Moyes is in for yet more misery.
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