Monday 19 March 2018

Jose Mourinho takes aim at referee Mark Clattenburg over penalty calls in derby defeat

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine Newsdesk Newsdesk

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho believes his side were denied two stonewall penalty's in their 2-1 derby day defeat to rivals Man City.

Pep Guardiola condemned old foe Jose Mourinho to his first defeat as Manchester United manager as Manchester City emerged triumphant from a pulsating, end-to-end derby encounter.

The eyes of the sporting world were focused on Old Trafford as two of the world's most high-profile managers renewed hostilities on Saturday lunchtime, having endured a frosty, tempestuous battle for La Liga glory for several years.

Now they share a city and the desire for Premier League glory, with Guardiola striking the first blow as a fine first-half display saw City run out 2-1 victors as United's 100 per cent start to life under Mourinho came to a halt.

Kevin De Bruyne was the catalyst for the visitors, coolly opening the scoring after nipping past Daley Blind before firing a shot that hit the post and rebounded kindly for Kelechi Iheanacho to deservedly extend City's lead.

Mourinho's side, by contrast, were struggling until debutant goalkeeper Claudio Bravo's composure disappeared with his clean sheet, flapping at a Wayne Rooney free-kick as Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired home with aplomb before the break.

Joe Hart's replacement looked flustered and was fortunate not to give away a penalty or collect a card soon after the restart, turning into danger and lunging at Rooney in the box.

A United equaliser was ruled out as exciting substitute Marcus Rashford's strike deflected home off the offside Ibrahimovic, with De Bruyne hitting the post at the other end as City held on for an important victory on enemy turf.

Mourinho and Guardiola shook hands as the final whistle signalled three points for the visitors on an afternoon when the players' battle rather than ructions between the managers dominated the conversation.

City made it four wins from as many games in the league while United's 100 per cent start to the season was ended - but Mourinho was left frustrated with referee Mark Clattenburg.

The Portuguese felt a second-half sliding challenge from Bravo on Wayne Rooney in the box warranted a penalty and a red card for the Chilean.

Mourinho said: "We are very disappointed with the result, but I am very disappointed with two decisions of Mark (Clattenburg).

"It was a penalty and a red card for (Claudio) Bravo. For sure outside the box it is a free-kick and a red card. Inside the box it has to be the same, but obviously even the best referees make mistakes."

On the performance of his side, Mourinho admitted he would not have chosen the same starting line-up given the benefit of hindsight.

He added: "I had two or three players in the first half that, if I know what is going to happen, I don't play them. But this is football and sometimes players disappoint managers.

"It's my fault because I'm the manager and it's always my fault because it's my choice.

"I think in the first half they were much better than us. We started the game bad, with some players really below their normal level in terms of their concentration.

"The second half was completely different. We were in control, we were much more dangerous and we had chances to equalise and who knows what would have happened."

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