Belfast Telegraph

Experienced Manchester United players steered us back on track, says Jose Mourinho

By Simon Peach

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho admitted he had to field a strong side against Manchester City last night to stop the rot.

United were thumped 4-0 by Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday but this EFL Cup success, which books a quarter-final clash at home to West Ham, lifted the fans' spirits.

The win was United's second in five matches, and only Mourinho's fourth win in 18 meetings with Guardiola, who made nine changes to his side.

Juan Mata's goal was enough to settle the derby as the game came alive in the second half.

"The players did everything and deserved to win. We are happy," said Mourinho.

"In the last week everything went against us but we are professionals. The fans felt deeply such a negative result and today was a good chance to clear that feeling because a derby knockout and to win gives everyone a better feeling." Asked if he played a stronger team than planned because of Sunday's 4-0 defeat by Chelsea: "Yes. We were on a good run of results but it was a big defeat - numbers that the history of this club doesn't deserve and when I'm in a club my heart belongs to the fans and I felt deeply for them.

"The reality is that I never had people like these ones. We lost 4-0 and they were supportive. Today the stadium was full of real support and it looks like the love people have for the club is bigger than bad results, bigger than three bad seasons. We must give something back.

"The players gave everything but even if we'd lost the feeling was fantastic because the players showed they really care and they fought for the fans."

City have now not won in six games in all competitions.

Guardiola said: "I'm proud of the young players and how they played. At that level you need to be more clinical with the last pass but it's difficult against United. We are happy. I want to try to win but now we'll focus on the next competitions. Congratulations to United. We had our chance."

Asked why Vincent Kompany came off at half-time: "Vincent told me he could not play any more."

Mata said: "It was very important to win today after the defeat in London and it was a massive win for us. We gave 100 per cent.

"It's a great feeling every time you score an important goal. It was a great feeling we left everything on the pitch."

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