David Moyes was visibly frustrated after Manchester United’s 2-2 draw with Cardiff yesterday thanks to a last minute equaliser from the Welsh side.
United were average for large parts of the game but looked that like they were going to hold on for three points until an unnecessary foul from Chris Smalling led to a free-kick that Cardiff duly created the winning chance from.
It was an avoidable goal to concede but Moyes was also quick to point out that United could have had the game already wrapped up by that point.
“I’m disappointed that we couldn’t take the three points,” Moyes said. “We gave away a stupid free-kick which led to the [second Cardiff] goal, but we also had a number of chances to win it.
“It was a good chance [Rooney’s failed square ball] but that was after it went back to 2-2. Before that, Welbeck had a fantastic opportunity [at 2-1] but unfortunately couldn’t take it.”
Against Southampton a few weeks ago, Moyes’ slow and ineffective substitutions played a part in the late capitulation at Old Trafford but they were not at fault against Cardiff.
United lost their heads when it mattered most right at the end and were punished for a lapse in concentration. It was completely avoidable if United had just stayed focused for a few more minutes, something Moyes will rue.
He continued: “You have to look at all goals you concede as being poor goals but I have to say that Cardiff made two fantastic passes in the build up to their first goal. I’m not sure that they’d be able to make those passes again but today it came off and they got the goal.
“The second goal was a really poor one to let in. We should never have given away that free-kick and put ourselves in a tough position.
“Just before it, there was a bit of a melee in the box [involving Gary Medel and Marouane Fellaini]. The referee must have seen something because he stopped the play and it gave Peter Whittingham another to chance to set himself up and get his cross in. It disrupted our concentration.
“We didn’t play well enough in the second half. We gave too many free-kicks and we allowed Cardiff to punt a lot into the box and we had to defend [against that]. For the majority of it we defended fine, we did most of the job well. But we didn’t defend the cross in from the free-kick.”
For all the shortfalls of the game, United were three minutes away from a win away from home. Performances are rarely remembered and it is results that matter. United’s average performance would have been forgotten if we had come away with a victory but that late equaliser will leave a bitter taste in both Moyes’ and the players mouths.
There is certainly a marked need for improvement. On the day that Manchester City trounced Tottenham Hotspur 6-0, we struggled to take the game to Cardiff. The positive sign is that we showed against Arsenal two weeks ago how solid we can be as a team but we need to see that more regularly from now on to continue this unbeaten streak.