When Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola meet in their second Manchester derby on Wednesday they’ll now have something in common. Both have prepared with humiliating 4-0 losses on their return to former clubs.
After Guardiola’s Champions League embarrassment at Barcelona with Manchester City on Wednesday, Mourinho saw his Manchester United side brutally taken apart by Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday.
Still reeling from his Camp Nou calamity, Guardiola couldn’t even take any joy at his rival’s domestic downfall. Before United’s collapse at Stamford Bridge, City experienced another of its Premier League setbacks with a 1-1 home draw to Southampton.
And whatever divides the managerial titans, they now also have something else in common. Both have collected only two points out of a possible nine in the Premier League. And one of their trophy quests will end on Wednesday when City and United meet in the League Cup.
The Premier League is the priority though, and City is top of the standings on goal difference despite its setback while United is six points back in seventh.
CHELSEA 4, MAN UNITED 0
Any hope Mourinho had of this game being a contest ended after 30 seconds.
A speculative long ball from Marcus Alonso drifted past hesitating defenders Daley Blind and Chris Smalling and landed at Pedro Rodriguez’s feet. United goalkeeper David de Gea was already committed far from his goal-line at the edge of the penalty area and Pedro nipped around him and put the ball in the net.
Did United’s defenders learn from their early indecisiveness? Not at all.
It was another mistake by Smalling that allowed Chelsea to extend its lead in the 21st. A Chelsea corner was flicked on at the near post by United’s Antonio Valencia, then hit teammate Ander Herrera before the lethargic Smalling allowed Cahill to evade him and the Chelsea defender netted via Blind’s back.
Eden Hazard started the incisive move that ended with a third goal just after the hour. N’Golo Kante then squared to Nemanja Matic, who returned the ball for Hazard to turn Smalling before dispatching the ball into the corner of the net.
There was worse to come for Mourinho in the 70th. Pedro, who started the rout, set up Kante to complete it. Kante waltzed through United’s brittle defense with ease, going past Smalling – who else? – before slotting beyond De Gea.
Antonio Conte was savoring such an emphatic score that lifted Chelsea to fourth, with exuberant celebrations next to Mourinho.
Mourinho, who was fired by Chelsea for a second time last year, was incensed by the conduct of his permanent successor.
“You shouldn’t celebrate like that when it’s 4-0,” Mourinho reportedly told Conte after the game in comments picked up from television footage by Italian media. “You can do so at 1-0, otherwise it’s humiliating for us.”
Neither manager disputed the account, but Conte defended his conduct.
“If we want to cut emotion then we can stay at home and change our job,” Conte said.
Mourinho, meanwhile, declared himself “delighted” with everything apart from the “mistakes.”
Mistakes that saw United concede four goals and fail to score, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic missing an early chance to equalize with a header.
MAN CITY 1, SOUTHAMPTON 1
Maybe a five-game winless run bodes well for Guardiola.
The City manager hasn’t experienced such a barren streak since the 2008-09 season at Barcelona _ his first in senior management. How did that campaign end? By winning the treble of the Champions League and Spanish league and cup.
England, though, is a more challenging football environment. There is no room for mistakes like the one from John Stones against Southampton. The defender’s attempt to pass to Vincent Kompany instead managed to set up Nathan Redmond for the opener in the 27th minute.
City only had its first shot on target 10 minutes into the second half, although Kelechi Iheanacho did make the most of it by equalizing.
“I know when you start (at a new club) it is always difficult,” said Guardiola, who began work at City in July. “We start quite well. Now in that moment we are not in that rhythm we had before. We didn’t have 90 bad, bad minutes. But when we are not perfect, we concede a lot.”