Mourinho questions City players’ ‘education’ as fallout continues

Man United manager is not backing down in his account of what happened afterwards

Manchester City’s Ederson Moraes celebrates in the tunnel after their win over Manchester United. Photo: Victoria Haydn/Man City via Getty Images

Manchester City’s Ederson Moraes celebrates in the tunnel after their win over Manchester United. Photo: Victoria Haydn/Man City via Getty Images

 

José Mourinho has questioned whether Manchester City’s players have the same “education” as their Manchester United counterparts and insisted the Premier League leaders were to blame for the brawl at Old Trafford that has left the clubs facing the possibility of disciplinary action.

Mourinho accused City of showing a lack of respect with what he perceived to be excessive dressing-room celebrations after Sunday’s win and angrily turned on a BBC correspondent for asking whether his club might be punished. “I think you work for another club,” the United manager said, “and not for the press” on another tense day when the deteriorating relationship between the city rivals was laid bare.

While Mourinho tried to take the moral high ground by insisting the English Football Association should exonerate his players, Pep Guardiola said he would be willing to offer an apology if his team’s celebrations had offended United after the 2-1 win that took City 11 points clear. However, the City manager also made it clear he did not think that was the case, arguing strenuously that his players were entitled to celebrate inside their dressing room and had “huge respect” for their opponents.

“What happened in the locker room, happened,” Guardiola said. “Hopefully it is never going to happen again. If we were not correct then I apologise to Manchester United. But our intention was not that. It was to celebrate inside the locker room and if people cannot understand that, I’m sorry, we won a derby. If we offended United then I apologise but sometimes United have made a lot of celebrations in the past over City.”

Delayed

Mourinho, preparing for Bournemouth’s visit to Old Trafford on Wednesday, delayed his press conference to take in Guardiola’s comments and was asked if he was confident his players had behaved the right way. “I know,” he said. “I am not ‘confident’, I know.”

The evidence suggests otherwise when it is accepted on both sides that around 20 players and members of staff were caught up in the free-for-all, with drink bottles thrown and punches swung. Mikel Arteta, City’s coach, needed butterfly stitches because of a gash to his forehead and Romelu Lukaku has been accused in some quarters of causing the injury. “Accused?” Mourinho said. “Prove [it]. Show evidence, then punish him.”

Mourinho also made a reference to United’s 3-1 win at Arsenal the previous weekend to demonstrate his point that City had gone too far with their celebrations. “The only thing I can say is that it was a question of diversity,” he said. “Diversity in behaviour, diversity in education … the diversity of behaviour, of opinion, of education.”

Asked if that was a reference to Guardiola’s comments, he replied: “Yes, exactly. What we did in the Arsenal stadium, you know? It was completely diverse [to City’s conduct]. What we did, what happened after that match, the way we behaved as winners.”

The clubs have been given until 6pm on Wednesday to supply the FA with their versions of events. City have submitted a lengthy account rejecting any suggestions their behaviour warranted the reaction from Mourinho and his players. “Definitely not,” Guardiola said. “We won a derby. When United win a derby they celebrate, when Arsenal win against United they celebrate. But where? Inside the locker room. That’s what we do, and what we did.

“We hugged, we jumped, because we were happy. I encourage the players to celebrate victories but inside the locker room. The situation at Old Trafford is that to go to the home locker room you have to pass the away locker room and we were inside celebrating.”

Guardiola would not specify what happened to Arteta. “The FA investigation will get our opinions about that,” he said. – Guardian service

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