Manchester City claimed bragging rights on Saturday after sealing a 2-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford, as the game, and result, served up several talking points.
Goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho handed the visitors a 2-0 lead after 36 minutes, but a goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic before half-time set up a frantic second half in what was a thoroughly entertaining game overall.
Neville says Mourinho will feel ‘damaged’
According to United legend Gary Neville, it’s a result that could ‘damage’ Jose Mourinho, who fell to defeat again after locking horns with old foe Pep Guardiola.
Not only is it a blow for the Red Devils to lose to a title rival, but it also ends their perfect start to the campaign and they will now hope to bounce back immediately and get back to winning ways next week both against Feyenoord in the Europa League and Watford.
“Jose Mourinho will be dented tonight, damaged slightly,” Neville said on his podcast. “He’s a man of great pride, but they’ll respond, it’s still early days, and it doesn’t tell us about the league title and where it’s going.
“Ultimately, it means City have bragging rights this week, and that I won’t appear in Manchester as much as I would have done if United had won.”
Guardiola defends Bravo
Elsewhere, Guardiola defended goalkeeper Claudio Bravo despite his blunder after dropping what appeared to be a straight-forward catch into the path of Ibrahimovic who cut the deficit with a wonderfully controlled finish.
However, the Spanish tactician was keen to look at the positives of the performance from the former Barcelona shot-stopper, who was also under pressure at other points in the game and risked giving away a penalty in a clash with Wayne Rooney.
“What Claudio did was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen,” Guardiola said, as reported by ESPN FC. “I like goalkeepers to play in front and after that [Ibrahimovic] goal, he continued playing in our build-up, playing long balls and coming out to pick it up.
“In football, it’s about how you react to mistakes, it shows character. He continued playing. It means a lot.”
Panel impressed by City
Unsurprisingly, the encounter was the main topic of discussion on the Sunday Supplement on Sky Sports, and the panel were in agreement that Guardiola’s City are starting to look very ominous at an early stage of the Premier League title race.
“Look at what Guardiola is doing already, and they did this without the best player in the league in Sergio Aguero,” The Sun’s Neil Custis told Sky Sports.
“City were on a different level to anything I’ve seen in the Premier League for a few years now.”
Time will tell as to whether or not Guardiola’s men can consistently deliver, but the early signs are certainly encouraging as they maintain their 100 percent record in the Premier League and have made an early statement of intent by picking up three important points at the home of their bitter rivals.