Jose Mourinho demands response from United as FA considers charge
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has challenged his players to show they are "men" by recovering from the 4-0 humiliation at Chelsea with victory over rivals Manchester City in the EFL Cup.
Mourinho could discover later on Tuesday whether he will face a charge from the Football Association following comments about referee Anthony Taylor prior to the goalless draw at Liverpool, adding to his concerns after a nightmare return to his old west London stomping ground.
Pedro's goal after 30 seconds threw the visitors off kilter at Stamford Bridge. Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante also all scored as the Blues went on to hand out a chastening defeat which bought an abrupt end to United's six-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
The players, though, have a swift opportunity for redemption when rivals City head to Old Trafford, with a place in the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup at stake.
Wednesday will be the second time City boss Pep Guardiola and Mourinho have faced one another since taking up residency in Manchester.
A swashbuckling display - despite a nervy debut for Claudio Bravo - saw City run out 2-1 victors at Old Trafford when the sides met in the Premier League last month, with the upcoming EFL Cup fourth-round encounter at the same venue offering both the chance to get things back on track.
Mourinho expects a reaction from his players, who are now five points behind the top four in seventh place.
"I would prefer to play (next) in the Premier League. It's a bad feeling in the Premier League. With the combination of results the gap to the top is six points," Mourinho said in an interview with MUTV after the Chelsea match and looking ahead to the cup tie.
"We have had a very difficult period of matches. We lost points this week and, even in the match when we played phenomenal against Stoke, we lost points then. Now we need to win matches.
"I am not saying they are easy ones, but we have Burnley, we have Swansea, West Ham, Sunderland, Middlesbrough - matches that we need to win and the top four, the top five, they have to play between themselves like we did this week against Chelsea and Liverpool.
"They are going to lose points too, so we are in the run, but there is no way to hide because I think our faces speak by themselves."
Mourinho added: "We are really, really sad, but again this is not for kids, this is for men and...we have to be men and work for the next one."
United defender Eric Bailly suffered what is thought to be a knee ligament injury when he limped off after 52 minutes, and continues to be assessed, while captain Wayne Rooney missed the Stamford Bridge defeat because of a calf problem.
The FA, meanwhile, are reviewing the observations of the United manager on his comments about Taylor, which were made in press conference ahead of the Anfield match.
During 2009, new rules were introduced by the governing body in an attempt to crack down on pre-match comments about officials which could be viewed as intimidatory or influential.