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12th Nov 2018

José Mourinho pins blame for derby defeat on having to start with Marouane Fellaini

With Paul Pogba ruled out, Jose Mourinho opted to start Marouane Fellaini, meaning that his plan B was his plan A, and that is apparently why United lost

Reuben Pinder

Absolutely nothing to do with the chasm between City and United in terms of quality

Manchester United were outclassed in every department by Manchester City on Sunday afternoon, in the most predictable derby result for a long while.

The gulf in class between the two sides was laid bare, as City passed United to death, securing a comfortable 3-1 victory without having to reach top gear.

United were without star man Paul Pogba, who was ruled out through injury, although it’s unlikely that his inclusion would have made much of a difference.

But of course José Mourinho would not pass up such an appealing opportunity to pin the blame for the defeat on something beyond his control. The United boss has claimed that Pogba’s absence, and thus Marouane Fellaini’s inclusion, was the main reason behind United’s lacklustre performance.

“Of course, we missed him [Pogba],” said Mourinho after the game.

“One of the things that broke our plan a lot was the fact Fellaini had to start the game.

“Because Fellaini is not in conditions to play 90 minutes.

“He was phenomenal in his effort but he was not in the condition to do it,” Mourinho explained.

“And normally, I bring Fellaini to this game in the latest part of the game.

“Imagine this game with Fellaini coming on at 2-1 fresh with 25 minutes to go.

“That’s an important thing for us.”

Of course, £50m summer signing Fred was on the bench for United. The Brazilian could have started the game in midfield, which would have allowed Mourinho to use Fellaini has his plan B, introducing him to the game late on to create chaos.

Such a tactic proved effective against Juventus in midweek, as Fellaini came off the bench to inspire a comeback. But Mourinho apparently didn’t have this option on Sunday, as he had to play Fellaini from the start.

Mourinho also insisted that United did not perform badly, but simply made a few costly errors.

“I think it is not a bad performance at all,”the Portuguese said.

“It was a performance with mistakes and we paid for it. All three goals are our mistakes. Against a team like City, if you make mistakes you will get punished.

“The first goal is a bad one to concede and the second one is even worse. The third goal kills everything.”