Football flashback: Jose Mourinho’s final Manchester derby ends in defeat – on this day

There’s an old belief that managers and coaches in the world of sports have sell-by dates. Jose Mourinho’s sale date at Manchester United had already arrived at the end of 2018.

It is well known that the Portuguese is one of the all-time managerial legends in the world of football. However, his recent history in jobs has always followed a familiar pattern.

His arrival would be accompanied by a flurry of results, then ending in some success and then in tears. It’s a pattern most avid football fans are aware of by this point. The same happened at Manchester United.

In his first season in 2016–17, the club won the Community Shield, the League Cup and the Europa League. The following season ended in second place in the Premier League and lost in the FA Cup final.

By the time the 2018–19 season began, however, signs of malignancy had begun to form. And nowhere was this more evident than on the pitch, as the results were up and down.

And against Manchester City, a team managed by arch-rival Pep Guardiola, things would go downhill fast. In many ways, this marked the beginning of the end of his tenure.

3 years to the day, let’s take a look at a Manchester derby that was pretty one-sided and didn’t have any real bite.


The start of the 2018-19 season hasn’t been a great one for Jose Mourinho. It got off to a great start with a 2-1 win over Leicester City. But back-to-back losses to Brighton and Tottenham had alarm bells ringing in some quarters.

After that two wins and a draw steadied the ship but another loss – this time to West Ham – brought further scrutiny. Again, this was followed by three wins and one draw for United.

His Champions League form was also mixed. They started with a win over Young Boys, before drawing with Valencia and losing to Juventus. A win over Juventus in the return leg helped steady the ship.

But it was clear that this was a far cry from an old United side – or even a Mourinho side. The Portuguese manager didn’t help his cause by bickering with reporters and going on his now-infamous “respect” rant.

However, the Manchester derby was seen as an important fixture for the side. It was not only a local derby, but also a game against the defending champions. The result could make or break United’s season.

City dominates and scores twice

The start of the match saw City dominate the ball and impose themselves. United, as expected, were content to sit back and wait for the counter-attack.

However, it did not take long for the City to draw first blood. In the 12th minute, David Silva did a brilliant turn and passed to Raheem Sterling on the left.

Sterling found space and played in a cross that looked too deep at first. However, Bernardo Silva managed to save the ball and square David.

The experienced Spaniard took a touch and slammed a shot through the arms of David de Gea. United were trailing 1–0 and the game was still early.

Amazingly, United bounced back after that. Where once they were pinned in their own half, they now moved forward and made the game a midfield battle.

Crucially for City, however, he paid little attention. In fact, as the half wore on City were back in the game and could have been 2–0 up. Bernardo Silva played in Sergio Aguero, who made a hash of things and only found the side netting.

The start of the second half, however, was to be no such mistake. Bernardo played a through ball to Aguero, who edged it to the edge of the box and played a one-two with Riyad Mahrez.

Collecting the return a little wider than he would have liked, Aguero nevertheless unleashed one past De Gea from the near post. 2-0 for City.

Jose Mourinho and Manchester United fail to make a comeback

It could have been 3-0 and game over if Sterling had not hogged the ball when put in by Fernandinho. However, the game changed when Mourinho brought on Romelu Lukaku from the bench.

The Belgian was fouled inside the area by Ederson and Anthony Martial converted the spot-kick. 2-1 and United had a chance to save an incredible result.

The game became more open after this, prompting both managers to make attacking substitutions. Mourinho brought on Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata; Guardiola brings on Ilkay Gundogan for Aguero.

It was the latter sub that did a better job. Gundogan completed the 44-pass sequence when Bernardo found him with a superb cross from the right. The German tapped to pick up the win.

The game was the beginning of the end for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United. He remained at the helm for five more games, of which United won just one, drew three and lost one.

The loss – which came a month later against Liverpool – was his last game in charge at Old Trafford.

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