Football: Mourinho shrugs off City rivalry in title race

Manchester United's manager Jose Mourinho gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Everton, on Sept 17, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

MANCHESTER (AFP) - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho claimed drawing level with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table did not enter his mind following their 4-0 win over Everton.

United have the same points and goal difference as Pep Guardiola's side after goals from Antonio Valencia, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial secured an emphatic victory over the Toffees.

"I didn't think one single second about Man City," Mourinho said. "I thought about Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool.

"They didn't win their matches and it was a chance for us to get two points like they got last week when we drew against Stoke. I was just thinking about them, not City. City won their game, they did their job.

"There is clearly a difference in relation to last season. We played better and we score more goals."

Mourinho felt the margin of victory, secured courtesy of three goals in the final seven minutes, was not flattering and reflected the dominance of his side.

"I think if the result was 2-0 or 3-0 after 30 minutes I would say a clear reflection of fantastic football we played in the first 30-35 minutes, ultra-dominant against a team that defended with five, with four, I think we played phenomenal.

"The 2-0 came and after that the third and fourth goal are just a consequence of a team that are sad and another team that is happy. It was probably our best performance of the season."

Mourinho also dismissed reports that an injury suffered by France midfielder Paul Pogba in their Champions League win over Basel could see him on the sidelines for up to three months.

"I don't know if it is 12 weeks or 12 days, honestly," Mourinho explained. "Any comment, any rumour is totally wrong because we don't know if it is 12 weeks or 12 days. The player was diagnosed initially after the match.

"Because of the muscle and the bleeding the decision was to wait one more week and to discover clearly in the scans. Nobody in this club talked about 12 days or 12 weeks.

"It is an injury in the hamstring. But we have normal procedure and we wait a few more days. It is nonsense information."

Everton striker Wayne Rooney was afforded a generous reception by the home fans on his Old Trafford return and left to a standing ovation when he was substituted in the 82d minute.

Mourinho added: "I didn't need to ask the fans. It is the nature of English fans, the nature of big clubs. When a player is big in the club and an important part of club history, I think every club does that."

Everton have now lost four consecutive games in all competitions, conceding 12 goals and scoring none. Despite the margin of the defeat Everton manager Ronald Koeman claimed he saw signs of improvement from his players and the scoreline flattered United.

"I wasn't so impressed by United," Koeman said. "That is maybe strange after a 4-0 defeat but they were really clinical and we didn't deserve this.

"Sometimes in life and football you get more than you deserved. I think here we got less. "You can support players, give them confidence but still we started afraid. We started afraid.

"However you saw really a reaction in the team today and it is of course difficult when you look to the final result.

"You think it was one team on the pitch but it wasn't like that. Of course result is for most of the people the most important.

"I saw a different team from the one which lost to Atalanta on Thursday, more togetherness and aggression on pitch."

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