Football: Mourinho says 'diversity' behind Manchester derby scuffle

Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho and Manchester City's Pep Guardiola bellowing out instructions. Both clubs have been asked by the FA for a report on the bust-up.
Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho and Manchester City's Pep Guardiola bellowing out instructions. Both clubs have been asked by the FA for a report on the bust-up.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Jose accuses City players of lacking 'education', Pep defends celebrations

LONDON • Almost all the Premier League managers were asked for their opinions of the Manchester derby tunnel brawl during their pre-match press conferences yesterday.

But Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola - the two men in the spotlight - both played down the bust-up following City's 2-1 win at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The fracas involved up to 20 players and staff from both clubs and City coach Mikel Arteta was left with blood on his face.

It all started when Mourinho allegedly stormed into the City dressing room after the game, claiming that the players celebrated the win too noisily.

He had a heated argument with City goalkeeper Ederson and milk was reportedly thrown at him.

Guardiola did not comment on the incident specifically, but he felt that the celebrations were justified.

"Everybody fought hard to win. After the game, we celebrated with the fans and went to the changing room and celebrated the win," the Spaniard said, ahead of his side's Premier League clash at Swansea today.

"I am the guy who encouraged each other to celebrate. What happened, happened. We will make a statement to FA (Football Association). I am not going to comment about that."

IT WAS NOT OVER THE TOP

Celebrations weren't too much. Definitely not. Believe me. It was a derby, it was the closest rival. It was correct, believe me.

PEP GUARDIOLA, Manchester City manager, making no apologies for his side's revelry after the hard-fought win over their bitter arch-rivals on Sunday.

When asked if the celebrations got out of hand, he added: "Celebrations weren't too much. No. Definitely not. Believe me.

"It was a derby, it was the closest rival. It was correct, believe me. We jumped because we were happy. People have to understand that we were happy.

"I think all the teams around the world when they win a derby, they are so happy.

"Swansea now is the most important thing, after that Tottenham. We are focused on the next games."

Mourinho also preferred to discuss his side's upcoming matches, starting with Bournemouth at home today.

"This press conference is pre-Bournemouth, it is not post-Manchester City, that was already done," he said. "I'm not here to comment on Guardiola's words.

"The only thing I can say is that for me, it was just a question of diversity, diversity in behaviours, diversity in education, just that and nothing more."

VISITORS WERE THE INSTIGATORS

The only thing I can say is that for me, it was just a question of diversity, diversity in behaviours, diversity in education.

JOSE MOURINHO, Manchester United boss, insinuating that City's actions after the full-time whistle stoked the flames that led to the tunnel melee.

On how he plans to deal with Bournemouth, he said: "As always, when you lose, probably you have a little bit more desire to win (the next game).

"Nobody likes to lose once or twice. When you lose, the next one you have extra to give."

Both Manchester clubs have until 6pm British time today (tomorrow, 2am Singapore time) to provide an account of the tunnel incident to the FA.

The Daily Mail reported yesterday that United's Marcus Rashford and Marcos Rojo were among the first to defend Mourinho after the Portuguese had milk thrown at him. Rojo, who was bare-chested, led the line with Rashford and Antonio Valencia close behind.

Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and Axel Tuanzebe were also involved while City players including captain Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho came out to meet them.

According to Spanish newspaper Marca, City coaches were first to spark the bust-up by dissing United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic for "talking a lot but moving a little".

On the pitch, City look unstoppable in their relentless surge towards the Premier League title, and only have second-from-bottom Swansea standing in the way of Guardiola's men setting a new record of consecutive wins today.

Eleven points clear at the top, City's victory against United was their 14th league win in a row - a single season record that also equalled the best run Arsenal established over two seasons in 2002.

For United, they will once again be without influential France midfielder Paul Pogba, who serves the second game of a three-match ban for his sending-off at Arsenal on Dec 2.

Bournemouth, however, should be far less of a test for Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

SWANSEA V MAN CITY
Singtel TV Ch103 & StarHub Ch228, tomorrow, 3.45am

MAN UNITED V BOURNEMOUTH
Ch104 & Ch229, tomorrow, 4am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 13, 2017, with the headline ''Diversity' behind Derby scuffle'. Print Edition | Subscribe