LONDON — Jose Mourinho had a point to make after 10-man Manchester United’s 3-1 win at Arsenal.
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Mourinho didn’t park the bus away from home against a top four rival like he usually does, but he had David De Gea to thank as Arsenal had 15 shots on target and 75 percent of the possession but were caught out but ruthless United counter attacks on three killer occasions.
United’s Portuguese boss was not happy with Arsenal and accused them of diving to try and win penalty kicks and made a sly remark about Alexandre Lacazette‘s fitness, as well as hitting out at Laurent Koscielny for his part in getting Paul Pogba sent off in the second half.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Mourinho was asked if he was upset with Arsenal appealing for multiple penalty kicks as he lambasted their “desire to go to the grass” with the most obvious situation coming in the second half as Danny Welbeck appeared to be scythed down by Matteo Darmian in the box.
“Look if it is not a penalty, it is not a penalty. I know the pitch is amazing and maybe it creates a desire to go to the floor. If it was hard, no. If it was mud, no. But the pitch is absolutely beautiful. I think they were a bit too much,” Mourinho said.
He then made a point of congratulating both medical departments with his tongue firmly placed in his cheek.
Ahead of the game Arsene Wenger, Mourinho’s arch nemesis over the years, had declared that Lacazette was completely out of the game. He started, scored Arsenal’s goal and played a full 90 minutes.
“I don’t want to forget my congratulations to both medical departments. My medical department managed to recover [Nemanja] Matic from a maybe to a yes. But Arsenal’s medical department managed to recover a player from a no to a complete 90. Amazing. I congratulate them all.”
Mourinho also hit out at Arsenal’s center back and captain Koscielny, who was at fault for two of United’s three goals and could have been sent off late on for hauling down Romelu Lukaku when he appeared to be the last man.
His beef with Koscielny was how he reacted to try and get Pogba sent off following a studs up challenge on Hector Bellerin. Mourinho said that Pogba was far from impressed with his international teammate for the way he reacted.
“The red card, I didn’t see. I was not even looking in that direction. No television yet for me. I know that Paul is frustrated. A bit disappointed with his colleague Koscielny with this kind of reaction,” Mourinho said. “Paul is frustrated because everybody knows that Paul is a clean player and it was not his intention, not at all, to be close to a red card.”
Asked what kind of message this result (it is Mourinho’s first win as United managed in eight attempts against one of the so-called “top six” since he arrived at United) he downplayed the importance of closing the gap to Manchester City, momentarily, to five points.
“No message. We are second in the table. We win four games in the Premier League, two at home, two away. The two away difficult teams Watford and Arsenal. We managed to win and win well and to play well. I am just happy,” Mourinho said. “There is no message. There is match after match. Now it’s on to CSKA.”
Everything is set up for a blockbuster clash between United and City next Sunday in the Manchester derby but without the suspended Pogba and a shaky defense bailed out by David de Gea, Mourinho will still have plenty on his mind besides Arsenal’s supposed simulation.