“ManCity versus Stockport expects such numbers”
Only José Mourinho does not want to acknowledge the growing gap between United and City after the Manchester derby. At the height of his fascinating analysis, he even teases himself.
The world of José Mourinho is a fascinating world. In mid-September, the Manchester United coach appeared at a press conference with a long statistics sheet to defend his dealings with Marcus Rashford. Two months later he says: “People who don’t know anything about football analyse him with statistics”.
It’s as if Mourinho, after years of struggle, has finally reached the last level, the black belt of the art of the burin: now he’s taunting himself. Either eyebrows or corners of his mouth moved upwards among the bystanders when “The Special One” presented his spectacularly idiosyncratic analysis of the 177th Manchester Derby on Sunday evening.
When Silva scored in the twelfth minute, United had only played eleven passes.
City three, United one: What others thought was a demonstration of power, proof of a “growing gap” (BBC), a “derby mis-match” (Telegraph), was for Mourinho a game that was “over 80 minutes” open and in which Manchester City would have gotten “big, big problems” if he could only substitute Marouane Fellaini (which he couldn’t because he played from the beginning).
No matter if you start at the front or at the back: “Big, big problems” showed only Mourinho’s team in this game. Front – there was David Silva’s leading goal (12th), at which time ManCity had already played 96 successful passes, United five (of eleven). Or as the “Daily Mail” put it: “Such numbers are expected when City plays Stockport in the FA Cup”. And in the back, Ilkay Gündogan gold-plated an uninterrupted series of 44 passes to 3-1 (86th). Or as ManUnited’s Twitter department put it: “Gündogan scores for City 3-1.”
City’s third goal claimed 2.13 percent of the entire game
The BBC calculated that the Citizens’ Short Pass artwork took one minute and 55 seconds, the equivalent of 2.13 percent of the entire game. And Mourinho says in all seriousness that he would “probably” agree that the final score would only reflect this game “if the third goal had been scored at a moment when they dominated”. United only managed one shot on goal to the end: Anthony Martials penalty kick to the interim 1:2 (58th) when Mourinho would have liked to replace Fellaini.
With a penalty, United came back to City in the derby, but the champions were clearly on top in the city duel. Ilkay Gündogan scored a 3-1 goal to make everything clear in the end.
Why he couldn’t do that was his actual point: Paul Pogba, derby hero himself in April (3:2), had played under pain during the week at the “super heavy game” in Turin, a kind of “final against one of the best teams in Europe” and therefore missed on Sunday. So while his team was physically and mentally “dried up”, City had “nice and easy” appearances against Southampton (6-1) and Donezk (6-0) in their bones, Mourinho said, “two friendly matches”.
Guardiola’s team simply plays around Mourinho’s six-man wall
This appraisal sums up the situation in Manchester well: Since he and Pep Guardiola have been in the city, City has shifted the powers so far that it’s celebrating casual Cantabrian victories, where United are going for a 0-0 (against Valencia) or a 3rd place:2 (against Newcastle); that they are playing around Mourinho’s Herrera/Fellaini/Matic wall of six players even without the injured Kevin De Bruyne; that they are winning almost casually a derby in which Pep Guardiola is “a little scared” of his team in the first half.
Or to put it statistically: after twelve matchdays it’s already twelve points ahead of the record champion again.