Exposed: United dressing room witnessed mass brawl during Manchester derby defeat!!
Manchester United players were involved in heated conversations between themselves at half-time during their defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.
The home side were woeful in the first half at Old Trafford, deservedly conceding goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho. Fortunately, they managed to pull one back just before half-time when Ibrahimovic capitalised on an error from Manchester city goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
However, that didn’t stop the players from becoming embroiled in a heated conversation in the dressing room. The Sun report that Jose Mourinho allowed his players to bicker before eventually calming them down.
Their source is quoted as saying: “The players could be heard shouting and arguing amongst themselves during the interval. Jose decided to let them blow off steam for a couple of minutes.
“He then quietened the whole situation down and told them they also needed to calm down or the second half could be much worse.”
Mourinho took decisive action at the break, removing Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. There was a slight improvement in the second period but not enough to stop Pep Guardiola’s side from winning the contest.
Although United produced a better display in the second half overall is was an unimpressive outing on home soil and their 89.3 million pound record signing Paul Pogba was anonymous on the day and his hunt to register a goal or an assist in his second stint at the club goes on.
Mourinho was quick to criticise his players after Saturday’s defeat. “A few players were below the level,” he complained. “Sometimes players disappoint managers.” But Mourinho’s tactical blunder was equal to blame for Manchester United’s poor first-half performance and their improvement after the break owed much to his change of formation.
City’s most dangerous players in Pep Guardiola’s 4-3-3 system are the two advanced central midfielders, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne.
Although both are more accustomed to higher positions, they have adjusted excellently to their new roles, driving forward and combining swiftly between the lines. Without the threat of Sergio Aguero, usually City’s obvious dangerman, Mourinho’s primary task was protecting the zone where Silva and De Bruyne operate.
Instead, Mourinho made no obvious plans. He continued with a midfield duo of Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba, a combination that was repeatedly exposed throughout the first half.
Pogba, in particular, gave an incredibly indisciplined midfield display, positioning himself as if he were playing in a midfield trio, the system he is accustomed to. He was often caught ahead of the ball at turnovers, which left Fellaini isolated in front of the defence.
The Belgian has generally been impressive this season but was inevitably incapable of shutting down both Silva and De Bruyne.
United’s problem was exacerbated by their full-backs, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw, being dragged out towards the touchlines as City stretched the play determinedly through the left-sided Nolito and right-sided Raheem Sterling.
Therefore, huge gaps opened up in the channels, most obviously in City’s inside-left position. De Bruyne put himself between Eric Bailly, Valencia and Fellaini. No one knew who was supposed to be stopping him.
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