Manchester United manager Jose
Mourinho has warned his players there is “no way to hide” and challenged them to show they are “men” by recovering from
the 4-0 humiliation at Chelsea by beating Manchester City in the EFL Cup.
Sunday saw a six-match unbeaten run in all
competitions come to a comprehensive end as Mourinho and many of the United coaching staff endured a nightmare afternoon at
their old stomping ground.
Pedro’s goal after 30 seconds threw the visitors off kilter at Stamford Bridge, with Gary
Cahill, Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante all scoring as the Blues went on and handed out a chastening defeat.
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Wednesday will be the second time City boss Pep Guardiola and Mourinho have faced one another since taking up residency
A swashbuckling display — despite a nervy debut for Claudio Bravo — saw City run out 2-1 victors at
Old Trafford when the sides met in the Premier League last month, with the upcoming EFL Cup fourth-round encounter at the same
venue offering both the chance to get things back on track.
Mourinho expects a reaction from his players, who are now
five points behind the top four in seventh place.
“I would prefer to play [next] in the Premier League. It’s a bad
feeling in the Premier League. With the combination of results the gap to the top is six points,” Mourinho said in an
interview with MUTV after the Chelsea match and looking ahead to the cup tie.
“We have had a very difficult period of
matches. We lost points this week and, even in the match when we played phenomenal against Stoke, we lost points then. Now we
need to win matches.
“I am not saying they are easy ones, but we have Burnley, we have Swansea, West Ham, Sunderland,
Middlesbrough — matches that we need to win and the top four, the top five, they have to play between themselves like we did
this week against Chelsea and Liverpool.
“They are going to lose points too, so we are in the run, but there is no way to hide
because I think our faces speak by themselves.”
Mourinho added: “We are really, really sad, but again this is not
for kids, this is for men and … we have to be men and work for the next one.”
Former Chelsea midfielder Juan
Mata, who was introduced at half-time against his old club, says the scoreline “hurts,” but knows United can ill-afford to
wallow in self-pity.
“We must carry on. Luckily, in three days we have a very important fixture, and as from now we
must focus on this new opportunity to get better,” Mata wrote on his blog.
“It sounds like a cliche but it’s
true: when we win and everybody praises you it’s easy to be united and celebrate together, but it is now, after such a
defeat, when we must remain mentally strong and keep going.
“Together we win and together we lose.”
defender Eric Bailly suffered what a knee ligament injury when he limped off after 52 minutes, and continues to be assessed,
while captain Wayne Rooney missed the Stamford Bridge defeat because of a calf problem.
Mourinho, meanwhile, could
discover on Tuesday whether he will face a charge from the Football Association following comments about referee Anthony
Taylor prior to the goalless draw at Liverpool.
The FA has contacted the United boss for his observations, which are