Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has insisted that his side have been playing well despite not winning any of their last three matches.
Mourinho’s team lost 2-1 to second-tier Bristol City in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals before playing two 2-2 Premier League draws with Leicester City and Burnley.
“I think we played very well in both matches [against Leicester and Burnley],” Mourinho said during his pre-match press conference on Friday ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash at home to Southampton. “We didn’t score enough goals in relation to [the chances] we created, so we were punished by not having great efficiency in both boxes.”
Romelu Lukaku has hit a dry patch but Mourinho has backed his £75m signing.
“Now, it is 20 [consecutive] matches in the Premier League [for him]. I think for a striker, for any player, it’s absolutely incredible,” Mourinho added.
“The guy is fantastic for me and the team, and he gives absolutely everything, I have no criticisms.”
“We [played Lukaku and Ibrahimovic together] against Burnley and we will do that in some more matches if we need to do it, but I think for both of them to play together, we really need them to be at their best level.”
On Liverpool’s purchase of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton for £75m, Mourinho said: “The reality is if they think the player is right for them and they really want the player, they pay this amount or they don’t have the player because that’s the way the market is at this time.
“Now you are going to say, Virgil van Dijk [is] the most expensive defender in the history of football. Was he better than [Paolo] Maldini or was he better than [Giuseppe] Bergomi or was he better than [Rio] Ferdinand? You cannot say that. It’s just the way the market is and you pay or you don’t pay. If you pay, obviously you pay a crazy amount of money. But if you don’t pay, you don’t have the player and it’s as simple as that, so no critics at all. It’s just the way it is.”