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Misery for Manchester as United thrashed and City draw

Misery for Manchester as United thrashed and City draw

LONDON: Manchester’s two Premier League clubs managed just a point between them on Sunday as Manchester United suffered a chastening 4-0 defeat by Chelsea on manager Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge and leaders Manchester City were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Southampton.

Chelsea’s Pedro Rodriguez opened the scoring after just 30 seconds and the Blues were on their way, with Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante adding to the agony for Mourinho, who won seven major titles in two spell as the London club’s manager.

Victory saw Antonio Conte’s side move up into fourth place, just a point behind the top three of City, Arsenal and Liverpool who beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at Anfield in Saturday’s late game.

By contrast, defeat left United seventh and five points adrift of the top four finish they need to qualify for the Champions League after missing out on European club football’s elite competition this season — a failure that led the Old Trafford club to replace former manager Louis van Gaal with Mourinho.

“You come with a strategy. You cannot concede a goal in the way we did,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “We made incredible defensive mistakes, individual mistakes, and you pay for that.”

After the final whistle, Mourinho whispered in the ear of Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.

Conte had urged home fans to make more noise after Kante made it 4-0 in the 70th minute.

But Mourinho refused to reveal what he had told the Italian, saying: “My words were with Antonio Conte were for him, not for you.”

Conte was equally guarded, telling the BBC: “When there is a private conversation it is right to remain private, I have great respect for Jose, he is a great manager and he won a lot here.”

As for the match itself Conte, in a separate interview with Sky Sports, said: “I am pleased with the performance, we started well, moved the ball quickly, created chances to score the goal.”

At Eastlands, City suffered a fifth consecutive match without a victory although the point gained took Pep Guardiola’s side back to the top of the table.

Following their 4-0 midweek Champions League loss away to Barcelona, City were behind in the 27th minute when central defender John Stones’s careless pass across the face of goal was seized on by Saints striker Aaron Redmond.

The hosts were much improved in the second half and Kelechi Iheanacho equalised in the 55th minute when he finished a neat move involving Fernandinho and Leroy Sane from close range.

“The second half was much better,” said Guardiola. “Of course our mistake is always complicated. The way I want to play is not to pass to their striker.”

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2016

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