United could have won 6-0 - Mourinho

Jose Mourinho hailed Manchester United's best performance of the season against Stoke City and felt a dispiriting 1-1 draw at Old Trafford might have been a 6-0 victory.

An error from David de Gea allowed Joe Allen to cancel out Anthony Martial's 69th-minute opener, while Stoke's own goalkeeper Lee Grant made a string of magnificent saves to keep his side within touching distance.

But after a laboured 1-0 Europa League win over Zorya Luhansk in midweek, Mourinho praised his side's fluency and was baffled by their failure to pick up three points.

"Best United performance all season," he said. "It could have been 3-0 or 4-0 at half-time, 6-0 at the end of the game, but the result was 1-1. But that's football."

Mourinho felt United's performance outstripped last weekend 4-1 win over champions Leicester City, where three of their four goals came from set pieces.

"It was a much better performance than against Leicester. It was the best performance by far, six, seven, eight great chances to win the game. This United team is one that wants to score more goals and be completely in control. 

"In the first [second] minute their goalkeeper made an unbelievable save and he kept doing that until the end of the game.

"He started with an amazing save to Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] and ended with an amazing save from Zlatan. You can say what you want, but that's my opinion. 

"For me, a great performance. With a bad result, the reaction of the fans at the end of the game says absolutely everything.

"Stoke fought like they do every game. They came for a draw. They were lucky but luck is part of football and my tribute to them is that they're not guilty of our bad luck." 

United midfielder Ander Herrera concurred with his manager's assessment.

"We did a fantastic game," he said. "It was one of our best performances this season, maybe the best.  We created 10 or 11 clear chances.

"The goalkeeper was the best player for them, it should be maybe six or seven nil.

"That is why we cannot  be happy but we played fantastic and controlled the game from the kick-off.

"We were not lucky, we have to keep going. Hopefully next time we play another game like this we can win maybe five or six nil but this is football and we have to accept that."

Herrera inflicted a high studs-up challenge on Stoke goalscorer Joe Allen early in the second half but he insisted there was no malice involved.

"I didn't want to hurt him, I told him," the Spain international added. "When I put my foot in his quad I did not want to cause him pain, I just wanted to stop him.

"He knows that, he accepted my apology and that's it."

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