Jose Mourinho's complaints over Manchester United's misfortune have been silenced by a new study which concludes they were in fact one of the luckiest teams in the Premier League last season.
Research conducted by ESPN in partnership with Intel and the University of Bath has concluded that Manchester United gained an extra six points through good fortune while Liverpool missed out on a significant 12, making them the unluckiest team.
A total of 157 incidents throughout the 2017-18 campaign, including incorrectly disallowed goals, wrongly awarded penalties and improper red card decisions, were reversed before a powerful predictive model readjusted results to produce a Premier League table without the factor of Lady Luck.
Jose Mourinho's Manchester United were one of the luckiest Premier League teams last season
Ander Herrera confronts Michael Oliver over a penalty decision against Manchester City
|Team||Original Position||Original Pts||Points Adjustment||Adjusted Final Points|
|1 Man City||1||100||-3||97|
|4 Man United||2||81||-6||75|
|11 Crystal Palace||11||44||-2||42|
|12 West Ham||13||42||-1||41|
|20 West Brom||20||31||2||33|
- Incorrect red card
- Incorrectly awarded and converted free kick
- Incorrectly awarded and converted penalty
- Incorrectly disallowed goal (offside, handball that wasn't, etc)
- Red card that should have been
- Goal scored outside of allotted time
- Deflected goals
- Incorrectly awarded goal (offside, foul in build-up, etc)
The final table shows Liverpool moving up to second with 87 points and Manchester United dropping to fourth. Manchester City remain champions but finish with 97 points while Tottenham remain in third with their luck evening out over the course of the season.
It will prove difficult reading for Mourinho, who last season insinuated that referees were costing Manchester United. One of his more thinly-veiled criticisms came after his side failed to beat Southampton at Old Trafford in December.
Speaking of Craig Pawson's failure to give his side a penalty during the 0-0 draw, Mourinho said: 'It is a penalty like [Marcus] Rashford against Leicester, [Ander] Herrera against City. [Jonathan] Moss, [Michael] Oliver and Craig tonight are good referees. So the referees' performances in these matches were good – these were unlucky decisions that punished us.
'A very good referee, one of the most promising young referees in Europe, had a very bad decision that punished.'
Mourinho also claimed earlier in the season that rivals Manchester City were being protected by 'good luck'. As it turns out, the sun was shining brighter on Old Trafford across the season.
Jurgen Klopp had more reason to complain after his Liverpool side missed out on 12 points
Pep Guardiola's side would never have reached 100 points without decisions going their way
One manager who certainly does have the right to complain about his fortune is the now-ousted Paul Lambert, who would still be in the job at the bet365 Stadium had Stoke not missed out on the four points lost through poor decisions.
With Huddersfield remaining on the 37 points they actually finished on, the Potters would have vaulted them and remained in the Premier League. Instead, they fell to the Championship and will miss out on vast sums in TV revenue as a result.
Many millions more were lost and gained as a result of dodgy decisions. Brighton would have an extra £11.5m with the six points they were denied, which would have taken them up to ninth. Leicester, the luckiest team in the division, earned an additional £96m thanks to their seven bonus points.
Paul Lambert would have avoided the sack with Stoke surviving the drop after the simulation
Arsene Wenger's last season in charge of Arsenal would have been made slightly better with the additional eight points that bad luck cost them. They missed out on a notable 11 points away from home, which helps to explain a pitiful return of just 16 points on the road, but gained an additional three at home.
It still would not have been enough to get them into the Champions League places, but they would have finished fifth, above Chelsea, with 71 points.
The study is only likely to increase pressure on the Premier League to introduce VAR after its successful implementation at the World Cup this summer. Video replays helped to overturn significant decisions in games involving England, Brazil and the winners France, but the technology was rejected by Premier League clubs in April.
Video technology was roundly rejected by Premier League clubs despite its inherent value