Jose Mourinho insists he had “no bench” against Liverpool and that prevented him from playing more attacking football.
The Manchester United manager’s 0-0 draw was a lesson in parking the bus at Anfield.
Romelu Lukaku, the £75m summer buy from Everton who has scored 11 goals so far this season, did not even touch the ball until the 17th minute.
But Mourinho, while happy with a point away from home, insisted he did not have the options available to him to change his game plan.
He said: “In the first half when we had energy in midfield we had no problems. We had total control and had the ball.
“When they had the ball they didn’t find any solution.
“In the second half I was feeling I needed my bench and I had no bench.
“I need to play against Henderson, Can and Wijnaldum. I need power and energy and I had no power or energy.
“I had Herrera and Matic and nobody else to try to make a difference.
“I don’t like to speak about it. Pogba, Fellaini and Carrick are out three midfield players we don’t have.
“I thought playing at home, seven points behind us, they [Liverpool] are going to change but they never did.
“I tried to answer with more speed in attack, fresh people in Lingard, but then we couldn’t find solutions in the last 15, 20 minutes.
“I had no chance to bring the game in another direction. It’s a positive point for us and once more we control the game. I think it was quite frustrating for them.”
Kop boss Jurgen Klopp admitted as much, saying: “It’s my right to be frustrated. We could not do this at Liverpool. It’s OK. I don’t judge this.
“We wanted to win, everybody could see that, we were working for it, all the subs were quite offensive.
“But sometimes to open it up you need a little bit of luck.”