Thursday 22 March 2018

'I couldn't be prouder than I am to be Man United manager' - Jose Mourinho comes out fighting

Juan Mata celebrates and (inset) Jose Mourinho
Juan Mata celebrates and (inset) Jose Mourinho

Andy Hampson

Jose Mourinho claims he was stung into action by Manchester United's 4-0 humbling by Chelsea at the weekend.

United bounced back from that heavy loss by edging a tight derby against Manchester City to claim a place in the EFL Cup quarter-finals.

Manager Mourinho felt it was time to show his fighting qualities and thanked fans and players for helping deliver an important result.

The Portuguese told MUTV: "The only thing I can say is I couldn't be prouder than I am to be Man Utd manager. As I wrote in my notes, the only way I know is to fight, to work and fight. The players did that for the fans, and the fans did that for the players too, because they also played this game.

"This is not the Champions League final, it is just the League Cup last 16, but it is against City and it is after a big defeat, so it was very important for us."

Juan Mata scored the only goal of the game after 54 minutes as United enjoyed a brief spell of dominance that also saw Paul Pogba have a shot touched onto the post by Willy Caballero.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (left) and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola shake hands after the EFL Cup
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (left) and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola shake hands after the EFL Cup

Mourinho, who did not hold a formal press conference, added on Sky Sports: "I'm happy the players did everything and they deserved to win. In the last week everything went against us but we are professionals.

"The fans felt deeply such a negative result and today was a good chance to clean that feeling because it's a derby and knock-out, and to win against Man City gives everyone a better feeling. I'm especially happy for the players and fans."

The result was another one of disappointment for City, who after opening the season with 10 successive victories have now failed to win in six.

That equals the longest winless run of manager Pep Guardiola's career, but the Catalan is convinced his side will soon come good again.

Guardiola, who made nine changes for the game, said: "Sometimes it happens in football the manager doesn't win. Sometimes you win, sometimes not.

"It is the first time, okay, but hopefully it does not happen again in my career. We have had these six times but we are going to change it as soon as possible."

City failed to register a shot on target during the 90 minutes.

But Guardiola said: "Congratulations to United, they made a good performance. We had no normal chances. We had chances on the counter-attack but with no last pass.

"But we controlled their long balls with their tall guys and I am happy for the performance of the players who don't normally play. So, no regrets. We will improve."

City captain Vincent Kompany, who is easing himself back into action after a groin injury, was substituted at half-time. Guardiola confirmed this was merely avoiding taking a risk.

He said: "He told us he is tired and was not ready to play the second half. That is why we made the substitution.

"He felt not good but the important thing is he is not injured. That is a good step."

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