Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

Fixtures & Results

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Jose Mourinho: No punishment for Pep's pitch run didn't surprise me

Jose Mourinho is "not surprised" Pep Guardiola was not punished for encroaching on the pitch on Wednesday - as the Manchester United boss was earlier this season.

Mourinho, who has claimed in the past he is treated differently to other managers, was sent to the stands by referee Craig Pawson for stepping onto the field during stoppage time of the 1-0 win at Southampton in September.

That did not happen to Manchester City counterpart Guardiola when he ran on to the pitch while celebrating the Blues' last-gasp winner in Wednesday's 2-1 home victory over the Saints.

And when asked on Friday if he was surprised Guardiola did not get the same punishment he had, the Portuguese said: "Surprised? No. Not surprised."

Mourinho was then asked why he was not surprised, and 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 problems."

What did emerge on Friday was that Guardiola had been asked by the Football Association to explain his version of events with regard to his animated post-match conversation with Southampton's Nathan Redmond.

Mourinho was speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Arsenal.

His rivalries with Guardiola - whose side, currently eight points clear of United at the top of the Premier League, United play at Old Trafford on December 10 - and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger are both well documented.

And he did not want to discuss the latter on Friday, saying: "Forget me against Wenger. Forget the story."

The last meeting between the pair was United's visit to the Emirates Stadium in May, when Wenger secured his first league win over Mourinho at the 13th attempt, a 2-0 victory.

The Frenchman's team are currently fourth in the table, and a key man for them of late has been Mesut Ozil, who is out of contract next summer and has been linked with United.

Mourinho, Ozil's manager at Real Madrid from 2010 to 2013, was asked on Friday if he would be interested in signing the German should he become a free agent next summer.

And he did not rule it out, simply saying: "No comment."

While Ozil has been in excellent form, United striker Romelu Lukaku has endured some struggles.

The Belgian started life with his new club superbly following his big-money summer move, netting 11 goals in his first 10 United appearances, but the 11 outings since then have seen him score just once.

Mourinho said of Lukaku: "He is going to score soon, no problem. If it's Saturday, Tuesday, next week, I don't know but he is going to score soon.

"No problem at all. For me the most important thing is team work and he is second to none in terms of giving everything he has to the team. Scores, doesn't score, that's not a problem. He is phenomenal."

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