Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho opted against scolding his midfielder Maroune Fellaini after he was sent off in Thursday night’s derby, but instead turned the spotlight on Sergio Aguero.
Fellaini, who is no stranger to controversy, was shown a straight red card for appearing to headbutt the Manchester City striker just seconds after fouling him.
It was the main talking point of a match which ended in a goalless draw at the Etihad Stadium.
While speaking to reporters after the game, Mourinho claimed that Fellaini would not have been given his marching orders if Aguero had not hit the floor.
Sky Sports quotes the United boss as saying:
“So, I am not so sure. I think if Sergio doesn’t go to the floor, for sure it is not a red card. But if Marouane gave him the chance to do that… I don’t know.
“I didn’t watch but probably I can guess it’s a bit of a red card and that it’s a bit of a very experienced, smart Argentinian player.”
Mourinho seems to suggest that Aguero deliberately confronted his opponent in the hope of provoking a reaction.
Fans had their say on the Portuguese coach’s claims, with some frustrated with the manager’s constant backing of Fellaini, whom many United supporters want to leave the club.
— Ben Clifford (@benguv11) April 27, 2017
@ManUtd Build a wall around fellaini and keep him there
— D (@DarraghMUFC) April 27, 2017
Who's throwing the party when Fellaini gets sold?
— YC (@__YC___) April 27, 2017
@DickinsonTimes Surely Mr Mourinho is mistaken. The card was given for Fellaini's actions not Aguero's.
— Mike Wilson (@Redsmail) April 27, 2017
Mourinho to Fellaini.It wasn't your fault.
— Diane Dixon (@dizzydianajo1) April 27, 2017
This Mourinho-Fellaini bromance keeps getting deeper by the day
If it was Martial, Jose prolly woulda said he lacks discipline
— D££ (@Dapor_David) April 27, 2017
I really hope Mourinho digs out Fellaini for his red card. Imagine if it was Shaw. He'd be locked in a cupboard for the rest of the season.
— Ed ⚽️ (@IconicWazza) April 27, 2017
— Joseph Wavamunno (@Bonasera_jw) April 27, 2017
Mourinho saying that Aguero was "smart" regarding the sending off last night. Was Fellaini not just down right stupid and silly???
— GIBBY (@gibb_8) April 28, 2017
genuinely disappointed Mourinho has tried defending Fellaini, was a stupid headbutt and he clearly deserved a red
— reecey boy (@The_Coles) April 28, 2017