While pundits believed that defending champions Man City were a class apart against rivals Manchester United during the Sunday derby, Jose Mourinho felt that the game was more open and that his team weren’t outclassed by the opposition.
“If the third goal is scored in one of the moments where they were dominating I would probably say so but it comes in a moment where we were in the fight to get the equaliser,” he said. Mourinho insisted United had given “not a negative performance at all” and added: “If you focus on the game today, it was open for 80-something minutes.”
United’s manager suggested recent matches at Bournemouth and Juventus had done his players no favours when City had faced Southampton and Shakhtar Donetsk at home.
“The game,” he said, “was open in a week when they play three home games and have 6-1, 6-0 victories, relaxed, everything nice and easy and we play two matches away, difficult where the second was like a final against one of the best teams in Europe where we give everything physically, mentally.”
Mourinho pointed out that the absence of the injured Paul Pogba disrupted United too.
“We had to play [Marouane] Fellaini and he was not ready to play for 90 minutes. I can imagine when the result was 2-1 to bring on a fresh Fellaini, I think they would be in big, big trouble. For different reasons we missed Paul but that doesn’t mean with Paul we win the game so it’s not an excuse.”
And what of the stats? City had 66% possession and 16 shots to United’s five. “The way people who don’t understand football analyse it with stats. I don’t go for stats. I go for what I felt in the game and it was there until minute 80-something. I consider the performance of my team one with mistakes. It is different from a bad performance.”