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    Manchester United are unbeaten in 19 but they continue to underwhelm | Football News | Sky Sports

    Manchester United missed their stars as points were dropped against West Brom
    While Manchester United's long unbeaten run continues, a 0-0 draw at home to West Brom did not offer much cause for optimism in their battle to finish in the top four. This sequence is failing to mask their flaws, writes Adam Bate

    Manchester United extended their unbeaten run to 19 Premier League games on Saturday. It's the longest such sequence in any of Europe's top leagues and eclipses the 18 games without a defeat that Sir Alex Ferguson enjoyed in his final season at Old Trafford.

    But it is not the memory of Ferguson's United that is being stirred by performances such as the goalless draw at home to West Bromwich Albion at the weekend. The reality is that United remain closer to Louis van Gaal redux than the swaggering side of old.

    United had 75 per cent of the ball but aside from one chance for Henrikh Mkhitaryan it did not translate into opportunities, with West Brom content to defend their own box. In fact, the visitors went closest when David de Gea fumbled Darren Fletcher's shot onto the bar.

    West Brom frustrate United

    Manchester United were held to a goalless draw by West Brom at Old Trafford.

    Tony Pulis' team denied United's speedy front four space into which they could run and with Marouane Fellaini unable to pick the passes from deep, the breakthrough seldom looked like coming. The suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic was badly missed.

    Mourinho will point to the injuries too and this was indeed a game that illustrated the qualities that the much-criticised Paul Pogba brings to United as well as the more celebrated Ibrahimovic. Juan Mata would have helped, too.

    Mourinho blamed his strike force for his side's failure to break the deadlock
    But the United manager should also accept some culpability for this shut out. Instead he shifted the blame to his forwards for failing to find the finish, describing his defensive six as "phenomenal" but criticising the four men ahead of them.

    "The other four? They have to score a goal," he told Sky Sports afterwards. "We have consistency in those six guys, consistency in defensive organisation and consistency in the build-up. But when we go to the finishing moments - we have to score."

    Highlights of Manchester United's 0-0 draw with West Brom at Old Trafford
    It is true that United have not done enough in front of goal. They have been outscored by the rest of the top seven and it's not all been due to a lack of creativity. They have missed the most clear-cut chances of any Premier League side and have a worse conversion rate than their rivals.

    But against West Brom, Mourinho's assertion that United "missed easy chances in front of goal" seemed a stretch. Mkhitaryan's effort was the only save Ben Foster had to make from shots inside the box. One expected-goals model rated United's combined efforts as likely to yield 0.8 goals and that's just about how it felt.

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    Surely the clue is there in Mourinho's answer: four forwards. With West Brom defending in numbers, why not add another forward-thinking player? Mourinho had limited options but still took the wrong one - bringing on Wayne Rooney for Mkhitaryan rather than a defensive player.

    It was a needlessly cautious move that seemed to sum up this underwhelming unbeaten run. Solid but just not enough. And on a day in which rivals Liverpool and Tottenham comfortably negotiated seemingly tougher fixtures, one point was not what was required.

    Manchester United's unbeaten run has featured too many draws
    These draws are costing United. There have been eight of them at Old Trafford alone this season having been held by the likes of Stoke, Burnley, West Ham and Hull prior to West Brom. The Baggies are one of nine teams to have picked up more points on their own turf than United.

    Indeed, Mourinho's men will need to win their remaining four home games if they are to better the nadir of nine wins achieved during David Moyes' sole season in charge. Even then, they will still finish with their second worst home record in Premier League history.

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    Things are looking rather more promising than the bleakest of days under Moyes, of course, with Mourinho already having delivered the first silverware of his reign. The Europa League could follow next month with United securing Champions League qualification in the process.

    But it will take more - much more - than an unbeaten run during which the top two have still both picked up more points to convince anyone that United are really ready to challenge for the Premier League crown again. Their weaknesses remain.

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    Also See:

    West Brom frustrate United
    Mourinho blames forwards

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