José Mourinho experienced his first Manchester derby defeat at the weekend and now, in the analytical fall out, there is a suggestion that he has admitted to a glaring error on his part.
A 2-1 home defeat to Manchester City sees United fall three points behind their city rivals in the Premier League table. However, with only four games played, Mourinho’s title ambitions have not suffered a fatal blow.
Much was made of the first derby between new managers Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. Having previously clashed during their respective spells at Real Madrid and Barcelona, the media hype surrounding derby day had taken on an added edge.
With City deservedly emerging with the victory, Mourinho has, according to Newsweek, conceded today that he may have made an error with his starting XI for the game.
Handing Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan their first starts of the season, England U21 hat-trick hero Marcus Rashford had to settle for a place on the bench, a fact many fans were not impressed with.
However, a dominant first half performance by City and underwhelming displays by Lingard and Mkhitaryan saw the arrival of Rashford for the second half, where he continued the impressive form he has shown since his arrival in the United first team last February.
Of his team selection on Saturday, Mourinho admits,
“I felt they [City] had fragility on the sides and the kid [Rashford] could give us in the second half what we didn’t get from Micki [Mkhitaryan] and Jesse in the first half.
“You never know the way players are going to react, especially when you don’t know them so well and, after only a couple of months, it is too early to know them really well.”
“Let’s speak for example about Mkhitaryan — how many big matches has he played? The kid Jesse — how many times has he played big matches? But Ander Herrera came on and he was phenomenal in his attitude.”
With 18-year-old Rashford in irresistible form this season, Mourinho has now been effectively forced into selecting the young striker alongside veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Saturday’s trip to Watford on Sunday.
There, fans will be hoping United can get back to winning ways and continue their side’s push for top flight supremacy once again.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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