Jose Mourinho insists his players behaved in the right way during a post-derby fracas that led the Manchester United manager to question Manchester City’s “behaviour” and “education”.
Pep Guardiola’s visitors were triumphant at Old Trafford on Sunday, with Nicolas Otamendi’s volleyed strike securing a 2-1 victory which opened up an 11-point gap for the Premier League leaders over the second-placed hosts.
The result sparked mass celebrations from all connected to City, with United understood to have taken exception to the merriment in and around the dressing room area.
It has been claimed milk and water were thrown at Mourinho after a reported confrontation with City goalkeeper Ederson, leading to an altercation involving up to 20 players and staff in the crowded corridor leading to the dressing rooms.
The Football Association has given the clubs until Wednesday to reply to a request for observations into an incident the United boss was initially reluctant to speak about in a terse, truncated press conference.
Mourinho wanted to look ahead to Wednesday’s match against Bournemouth instead of back to the derby, but appeared to take exception to Guardiola’s claim that his City side had not celebrated excessively at Old Trafford.
“He says, he says,” the Portuguese said. “I’m not here to comment on his 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 than that.
“The diversity of behaviour, of opinion, of education.”
Asked if he was referring to the fact Guardiola said the celebrations were OK and Mourinho disagreed, he said: “Yeah, exactly.
“You know, what we did in the Arsenal stadium (after winning 3-1 there earlier this month), it was completely diverse. What we did, what happened after that match, the way we behaved as winners… but no problem.”
Mourinho also defended his players’ behaviour after Sunday’s confrontation.
“May punish who? Why?” the United boss queried when asked about possible FA punishment, before accusing the journalist who asked the question of bias. “I think you work for another club and not for the press.”
Mourinho then gave short shrift to another reporter bringing up reports of Romelu Lukaku throwing a bottle in the skirmish.
“You know, accuse? Prove? Show evidence and punish him,” he said.
When that was followed up with a question about whether he was confident his players behaved in the right way after the game, Mourinho said: “I know. I am not confident – I know.”
The FA will take a view on that when it receives the observations from United and City on Wednesday.
Both sides are in action later that day, with City heading to Swansea as United look to get back to winning ways at home to Bournemouth.
Despite being asked about the game, Mourinho took umbrage with the lack of focus on the Cherries’ visit and harangued reporters as he left the press conference after just six minutes.
“Bye,” he said. “Bye. You don’t like Bournemouth, hey? You don’t respect them? You don’t think they are a team capable of coming to Old Trafford and do well? No respect for Eddie Howe? No respect for the players?”