Jose Mourinho claims Manchester United didn’t set out to spoil Manchester City’s party, that Saturday’s 3-2 comeback victory in the Manchester derby was about just that — the allure of the derby, and three points — but does anyone really believe him?
[ PL ROUNDUP: United deny City their title; Spurs inch closer to Liverpool ]
Just consider the fact that Man City were one win away from lifting the Premier League title and jumping up and down at midfield, after their bitter rivals formed the ceremonial guard of honor and were forced to watch from the sidelines; that it would have been Mourinho’s greatest rival, Pep Guardiola, passing him by and spraying champagne; that City’s successes are directly and immediately identified as United failures.
“My objective here was to get points and not spoil any celebrations,” Mourinho said after the game, and the reporter holding the microphone must have been forced to stifle exasperations — quotes from the BBC:
“I was really sad with the first goal and I think it is the third corner they scored against us this season.
“Then with the second it was important for the players to keep confident. We moved the ball, more than any team has against Manchester City. We pressed a bit higher and we keep the shape to get a good result.
“I think mathematically we need six points to stay in the top four and this win is part of that tonight.”
“Our challenge is to finish second but I want to congratulate City for the title because they are going to win and deservedly. They gave no chance to the others because they had this season of don’t stop winning.
“My objective here was to get points and not spoil any celebrations. The point is, can we improve enough to catch them next season?”
Chris Smalling, who scored the winning goal to cap a 16-minute period which saw United score all three of their goals, revealed that Mourinho’s halftime message had resonated inside the locker room, that “we didn’t want to be the clowns standing there watching them” lift the PL trophy — quotes from the BBC:
“The manager didn’t have to say much at half time as we knew ourselves as players it was a poor performance. He said that we didn’t want to be the clowns standing there watching them get their title.
“City have been fantastic here all season, but we stepped up and won the game.”