Jose Mourinho defends Man United star for display at Arsenal

The Manchester United manager refuses to criticise Ander Herrera for his role in Granit Xhaka's opener in Arsenal's 2-0 win

Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia Photo: Antonio Valencia/Instagram

Jose Mourinho has defended Ander Herrera for the midfielder’s performance in Manchester United’s 2-0 loss at Arsenal on Sunday.

The Spain international started in the heart of the Manchester United midfield alongside Michael Carrick for the Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium.

However, Herrera helped Arsenal to break the deadlock in the 54th minute when his casual attempt to close down Granit Xhaka saw the Swiss midfielder’s shot deflect off the Manchester United star and past David De Gea in the away goal.

Herrera received praised for his performances in Manchester United’s 2-0 win against Premier League leaders Chelsea and a stalemate with Manchester City last month.

And Mourinho, who lost to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger for the first time in 13 meetings in the Premier League, refused to criticise the Spain international for his performance at The Emirates.

“He played every game,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “Herrera is one of the guys, like Darmian and Mkhitaryan, who had to play today.

“I wanted to be fair with Smalling, Rooney and Carrick – I couldn’t put a team in this match with four or five kids in the line up. Herrera did fantastically well to play 60 minutes. The goal was a lucky situation.”

MORE: Latest Manchester United news and views

MORE: Football transfer rumours and gossip

Arsenal are in sixth place in the Premier League table and seven points behind Liverpool in the race to secure a top-four finish.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Thomas Tuchel praises 'fantastic' Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
N'Golo Kante
Thomas Tuchel issues N’Golo Kante injury update ahead of Chelsea FC v Leicester City
Callum Hudson-Odoi
Thomas Tuchel sends message to Chelsea FC star Callum Hudson-Odoi
Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker reacts to Trent Alexander-Arnold's display in Liverpool FC's 4-2 win
Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp rates Chelsea FC and Man United’s title hopes next season
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Thomas Tuchel praises 'fantastic' Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
N'Golo Kante
Thomas Tuchel issues N’Golo Kante injury update ahead of Chelsea FC v Leicester City
Callum Hudson-Odoi
Thomas Tuchel sends message to Chelsea FC star Callum Hudson-Odoi
Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker reacts to Trent Alexander-Arnold's display in Liverpool FC's 4-2 win
Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp rates Chelsea FC and Man United’s title hopes next season
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature