The Manchester Derby has a history of producing one of the most classic encounters in the Premier League, and Saturday night’s derby was once again for the history books.
An absolutely sensational Manchester City, at least for the first 45 minutes, were routed in their path to glory in their own backyard by an electrifying Manchester United side, as the Red Devils completed an astounding comeback to shell-shock the Etihad.
A clash that appeared to be a walk in the park for the Cityzens after the first half, turned out to be an encounter that not even the red half of Manchester would have expected.
United were all but dead and buried when Martin Atkinson blew his whistle for half-time, as the scoreline read 2-0, though frankly, they could have easily been 4 or even 5-0 down.
The high-flying noisy neighbours were cruising past Jose Mourinho’s men, and were just 45 minutes away from becoming the Champions of England, and more importantly, rubbing their arch-rivals’ noses in it.
But it’s never over until that final whistle blows, as what the Etihad witnessed next was a vintage Manchester United comeback.
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Paul Pogba’s 97-second brace and a striker’s finish by Chris Smalling earned the Old Trafford faithful the bragging rights, as the Red Devils spoiled City’s party in the most dramatic fashion possible.
And at the end, all that was left to answer was, what did Jose Mourinho say to his impassive squad in the dressing room that sparked such a remarkable derby comeback?
According to the Special One himself, all he did was just give ‘examples’ of how a team can recover in such a situation. In his post-match interview, Mourinho stated: “I gave them examples of many matches, teams losing 2-0 can recover.”
However, it was actually much more than that, as match-winner Chris Smalling elaborated the gaffer’s message at the break.
“The manager didn’t have to say much at half time as we knew ourselves as players it was a poor performance,” Smalling said.
“He said that we didn’t want to be the clowns standing there watching them get their title. City have been fantastic here all season, but we stepped up and won the game.”
Meanwhile, Pogba further added that the players were raring to stop City in their tracks, as he said: “I didn’t want to lose against City, the loss from last season is still in my mind. If they won they are champions, for all the fans it would be like death.
“To lose against City and to see them celebrate, I couldn’t let that happen. At half time in the dressing room we said we have nothing to lose, 2-0 lets make it. After a second half like this, we have to do that all the time. If we did we would be up there with City, and maybe even in front.”