LONDON • Manchester United are "back", according to Juan Mata, their match winner against Manchester City on Wednesday.
So too, it emerged yesterday, are Jose Mourinho's disciplinary troubles.
England's Football Association announced that it has charged the Portuguese with misconduct for comments he made about Anthony Taylor, the referee, before United's 0-0 draw away with Liverpool last week.
The comments were far from the United manager's most incendiary - he merely said that Taylor, from Greater Manchester, had been put under unfair pressure due to media coverage of his appointment.
But, by talking about the referee before the match, he is alleged to have made comments that were "improper and/or brought the game into disrepute contrary to FA rule E3(1)".
Mourinho has been given until 6pm on Monday (2am on Tuesday in Singapore) to respond to the charge, but at least his mood will have been improved by United's League Cup 1-0 fourth-round victory over City at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
The pressure was on United, who have won just one of their past six Premier League matches.
But Mata, their scorer, felt the performance was the perfect response to their 4-0 defeat by Chelsea on Sunday.
"We showed that after our heavy defeat, we are back," the Spaniard told MUTV. "We were very strong in our minds, after some criticism, and we showed that if we are focused 100 per cent, we can win against such a good team."
Mourinho made a gesture of apology to United's fans at the end - making a '4-0' symbol with his fingers and lowering his head - and said he had been moved by their backing. "Today the stadium was full of real support and it looks like the love people have for the club is bigger than bad results," he said.
"Even if we'd lost, the feeling was fantastic because the players showed they really care and they fought for the fans."
City manager Pep Guardiola was understandably less delighted about a sixth consecutive game without a win - the worst streak in his managerial career.
"It is strange that it should happen now, after seven years as a manager, but we are going to change things as soon as possible," he said.
City travel to West Bromwich Albion tomorrow in what is now a game they can hardly afford to lose.
There will be fresh doubt over Vincent Kompany, taken off at half- time after complaining of fatigue.
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN