Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has turned to an old trick – stepping up the mind games ahead of Sunday’s derby showdown with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Mou has come for City’s talismanic striker Sergio Aguero this time, taking a veiled swipe at the Argentine in his pre-match interview, saying: “there are little things in his game I am not a fan of,” although he declined to elaborate further when asked.
Aguero, City’s all-time leading scorer, was criticised heavily by Mourinho after a 0-0 draw with United at the Etihad in April 2017 after United midfielder Marouane Fellaini was sent off for a headbutt on the Argentina international.
Mourinho was quick to pay tribute to Aguero’s qualities as a goalscorer before United’s latest clash with arch rivals City, but he dropped a strong hint that he believes there is a dark side to his game.
“I only fear when I play against him. I admire him because of his fantastic qualities,” Mourinho said.
“There are little things in his game that I am not a big fan of, but the numbers speak by themselves. The number of goals he scores.
“It is not about scoring for one season, it is about scoring goals in your career. It is about scoring goals in a different league, like the Spanish league. Clearly he is a goalscorer all over the world.”
United go into Sunday’s derby having won three games in a row, reducing talk of a crisis that, at one stage in early October, looked as if it might cost Mourinho his job.
And the former Chelsea boss says fevered talk of problems at Old Trafford comes with the territory of managing such a prestigious club.
“It is Manchester United’s fault. When I say fault, I mean for the right reasons,” he said.
“It is the history of the club that makes one defeat become a crisis. It is the history, the prestige.”