Manchester United manager José Mourinho has admitted that Marouane Fellaini gave Martin Atkinson "a chance" to send him off in the 0-0 draw with Manchester City, after the Belgian clashed with Argentine striker Sergio Agüero.
Bit of this, bit of that
The clash was crucial for both sides but no more so for the Red Devils, as they headed into the clash with Pep Guardiola's men just a point behind in their continuing search for Champions League football.
It was a decent start for the visitors with good chances for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ander Herrera in the first period, but their quality certainly lacked in the second period.
A point would have been a decent result for United but that was nearly thrown away with Fellaini's meltdown, United held out but though he stuck up for Fellaini Mourinho scathed his midfielder for giving Atkinson the opportunity for him to be dismissed.
“If Sergio doesn’t go to the floor for sure it’s not a red card," Mourinho told his post-match press conference. "But if Marouane gave him chance to do that.”
“I don’t know because I didn’t watch," the coach told his gathered press. "I have just three details. Marouane says it’s a red card because it’s Marouane."
"He is very disappointed," the 48-year-old stated. "He feels it is a red card because he is Marouane Fellaini."
"Probably I can guess it is a bit of a red card," Mourinho added. "And a bit of a very experienced, smart Argentinian player.”
Could be a blessing
United's pursuit of Champions League football has really took a toll on Mourinho's squad, and their injury was increased even further on Thursday night.
The likes of Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Juan Mata and Zlatan Ibrahimović are currently missing from the side, with Mourinho confirming that Paul Pogba was also missing from Thursday's clash.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah has also now been ruled out having dislocated his shoulder and with Fellaini also expected to miss the next three matches through suspension, despite all the absentees Mourinho stated that it could be good for his side.
"We are very unlucky is the only thing we can say and the other small injuries are the injuries of fatigue," he said. "The accumulation of matches, which is normal."
"So maybe it's a blessing," he stressed. "An opportunity to make the team stronger."
"Maybe it's an opportunity to make them mentally stronger," Mourinho concluded. "Maybe it's a blessing, so let's see if they can come back."