José Mourinho said on Friday he is “not surprised” Pep Guardiola received no sanction for going on to the pitch after Manchester City’s late winner against Southampton in midweek, though Manchester United’s manager was sent off for a similar act during his side’s victory at St Mary’s in September.
Guardiola’s infringement came after Raheem Sterling’s injury-time goal gave City a 2-1 victory at the Etihad on Wednesday. It was their 19th win in succession and whereas City’s manager was on the field for an extended period, Mourinho’s red card came after he put one foot on the pitch, though this was during play.
The Portuguese received no further action from the Football Association, a tacit admission that the referee, Craig Pawson, made the wrong decision, which came in the closing seconds of United’s 1-0 win.
Mourinho was asked whether he was surprised Guardiola did not draw a similar punishment from Paul Tierney, who refereed City’s match against Southampton. “Surprised? No, not surprised,” he said, though he would not be drawn on whether that was because he feels there is a different rule for him. “You are asking me one question. If I am surprised, I say I am not surprised. The second question is nothing. It’s another one.”
Pressed on why he was surprised, Mourinho laughed. “You [his questioners] have team spirit and tactics,” he said. “I can’t answer to the second question. You know, if you are my friends, don’t ask me the question, because you know I get into trouble, so no.”
At the final whistle on Wednesday Guardiola also confronted Southampton’s Nathan Redmond in a truculent manner. The player issued a statement to say he had no issue with this, though the Football Association has asked Guardiola for his observations. Again, Mourinho chose to stonewall. “Don’t ask me that,” he said.
On Saturday United are at Arsenal for the late kick-off in which Mesut Özil should feature and for whom Mourinho has not ruled out making a move in the summer, when the German’s contract expires at the Emirates. The Portuguese coached Özil at Real Madrid and has described him as the best No10 in the world. The position is proving a problem one for the United manager, who recently dropped Henrikh Mkhitaryan. “No comments,” he said.
Nemanja Matic’s availability is in the balance for the match because of a muscle problem. “I hope he can play but I cannot guarantee it,” Mourinho added. “He is selected to go, let’s see the feeling before the match, let’s see the warm-up.
“I hope he can, I want him to, he wants to, but I cannot guarantee and [Marouane] Fellaini is not travelling with the team.”
Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are not fit to travel either because of injuries.
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