Jose Mourinho was left less than impressed by the quality of the officiating by referee Mark Clattenburg and his assistants during today’s Manchester derby. Despite falling behind to first half goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho, a Zlatan Ibrahimovic strike before half-time cut the two goal deficit to one.
Unfortunately for the Portuguese manager and his players, United were unable to conjure another goal after the break, despite an overall improvement on their performance in the second half. Mourinho was less-than impressed that what he felt were two key decisions didn’t go United’s way, however, according to The Telegraph.
The first was poor officiating, no two ways about it; Claudio Bravo had struggled all afternoon when the ball was nearby, and after a loose touch allowed Wayne Rooney a sight of the ball. Bravo got there first but lunged into the United captain with his studs up, leaving Rooney in a heap. The Chilean keeper escaped punishment, however, when a red card and a penalty should certainly have been the outcome.
The second was less clear-cut, with the ball striking defender Nicolas Otamendi inside the penalty area. After television replays, it’s difficult to suggest that the Argentine did it deliberately, and as such, was probably the correct decision.
At least Mourinho didn’t fully detract from the role that he and his players had in today’s dismal performance. Mourinho’s team selection was needlessly risky, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard both off the pace for the entire first half having both only recently returned from injury. With Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial both fitter, and with the former in particularly fine form, the decision to bench both makes even less sense, given that both can offer the same searing pace offered by the two that started ahead of them.
Beyond that, too many members of the starting XI looked like they’d just arrived into Manchester that morning, and struggled to get to grips with the pace of Manchester City’s play. Both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba failed to get to grips with the occasion, and looked uncomfortable with the pressure placed on them by City’s pressing game throughout.
Still, Mourinho can at least look at it as a harsh lesson for his team that has come early on in this season. It was a sobering display, but with only four games gone in this Premier League season, the former-Chelsea boss has plenty of time to fix things.