More woes for Manchester United as they get beat by should be pushovers, Derby County, who now advance to the next rounds. The defeat further chipped the cracks Manchester United has suffered this season. Worse still, it was a loss for Mourinho to a former player he managed, Frank Lampard, who is now the manager of Derby County.
Manchester City’s loss in Tuesday’s game in the Carabao cup is another reason for fans to sigh as the team is already trailing league leaders Liverpool by eight points after six games. The loss also fueled talks of Mourinho’s fractured relationship with Paul Pogba, an instrumental player in many of Manchester United’s win this season.
A third-minute strike by United’s Spanish maestro Juan Mata was canceled out by Derby’s Harry Wilson — on loan from the Red Devils’ arch-rivals Liverpool — just before the hour.
His Rams teammate Jack Marriott scored what looked to be an upset winner until Marouane Fellaini saved manager Mourinho’s blushes with a late injury-time header to make it 2-2 and force penalties.
Derby won the resulting, grueling shootout when, after 15 successful penalties, Derby’s keeper Scott Carson saved Phil Jones’ shot to send the holders out in the third round.
Perhaps Pogba’s absence was strongly felt as the out-of-favour midfielder was rested for the challenge. The fielded Manchester City team couldn’t hold off the gritty Midland team as they took the day.
In a pre-match interview, Mourinho said that he was resting key players Luke Shaw, Pogba, Victor Lindelof, Antonio Valencia and keeper David (De Gea).
‘I gave a rest to these five players. I couldn’t give much more. I had to play a very good team.’
Fatigue or questionable form?
Despite a stellar World Cup — in which he propelled France toward victory — Pogba, who rejoined Manchester United for a then-record fee of £89 million ($117 million) in 2016, has not replicated his national team form for the Premier League club.
In widely reported comments, the Portuguese manager had told the 25-year-old midfielder that he is no longer United’s ‘second captain,’ citing concerns about the Frenchman’s attitude.
‘The only truth is that I made the decision for him not to be the second captain anymore but there is no fallout, no problem,’ Mourinho said, according to the BBC.
‘I am the manager. I can make these decisions.’