Home Sport Derby shocker Mourinho denies rift with Pogba

Derby shocker Mourinho denies rift with Pogba


‘There is no fall-out, no problems at all’

Paul Pogba stares at Jose Mourinho during a Manchester United training session on Wednesday. Photo: Screengrab via @SkySportsNews on Twitter

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said his side needs to be mentally stronger after their League Cup third-round defeat at home to Derby County on Tuesday.

United led after three minutes but needed an injury-time equaliser to even force a penalty shoot-out, which they lost 8-7 with Phil Jones missing from the spot.

Mourinho rued his side’s inability to push home an advantage, as happened last weekend when they drew 1-1 at home with Wolves in the Premier League.

“I told the players that the result was open and we needed to close it, but again we conceded one goal,” Mourinho said of his half-time team-talk.

Harry Wilson equalised with a stunning free-kick for Frank Lampard’s Derby side, and Jack Marriott headed them in front late on before Jack Marriott forced the match to penalties.

“We went, in the first half, 40 minutes without scoring a goal and then in the second half they started better than us,” Mourinho said.

“Immediately after they equalised we were on top of it, we started creating again, we were dangerous and why, after the 1-1, and then why after the 2-1, even with one man less (after the sending-off of goalkeeper Sergio Romero) … I think we need to educate ourselves to being mentally stronger.”

Mourinho acknowledged the quality of Wilson’s free-kick but said he knew United would struggle as the penalty shoot-out progressed.

“The penalty shoot-out is a lottery and we missed one,” he said. “We knew that if we go past the seventh we were going to be in trouble with Jones, with Eric (Bailly) … not good penalty takers – but we took it all well and we missed one.”

Mourinho also played down his decision to demote Paul Pogba, who was among those rested against Derby, from being vice-captain.

“I made the decision for Paul not to be the second captain anymore, but there is no fall-out, no problems at all,” he said.

“The same person that decides that Paul is not the second captain anymore was exactly the same person that decides that Paul was the second captain – myself.

“I am the manager, I can make these decisions. No fall-out at all, no problems at all. Just one decision that I don’t have to explain.”

Meanwhile, Derby County manager Frank Lampard picked up the biggest scalp so far in his young managerial career on Tuesday when his second tier Championship team knocked over Manchester United, coached by his former boss José Mourinho, out of the League Cup.

Derby won 8-7 on penalties after the game had ended 2-2 after 90 minutes. It had taken a last-gasp header from United substitute Marouane Fellaini to take the contest into a shoot-out.

Lampard, who played under Mourinho at Chelsea, was rewarded for naming a full-strength side, in contrast to many managers in this competition, fielding the same team that beat Brentford 3-1 in the Championship on Saturday.

“It was the easiest selection I’ve had. They played so well against Brentford and I knew how much they all wanted to play. I wanted to come here and win,” Lampard told reporters.

It was a tense end to the game but Derby kept their cool, scoring all of their spotkicks in front of United’s fans in the Stretford End.

“I’m a bit shell shocked (but) in a good way,” said Lampard.

“What a performance from the team and in terms of personality…

“To have the personality to step up and take penalties and perform the way they did, I’m just a proud manager, they were great,” he added.

“I am trying to build a group to be successful and nights like this are incredible. To go against world-class players and play that way, it’s right up there.”

The highlight of the performance was Harry Wilson’s 59th-minute free kick, which was brilliantly driven home from 30 metres out by the 21-year-old Wales international, who is on loan from Liverpool.

“I know we are a good team, we wanted to come here and go toe-to-toe with United,” said Wilson.

“The free kick was too far out to curl it so I put my laces through it and tried to get movement on the ball.” – Reuters and dpa