Jose Mourinho’s reaction to defeat at Manchester City was understandable, according to former-Red Gordon Strachan.
The Portuguese was involved in a serious altercation in the tunnel after Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Man United’s local rivals.
Reports have emerged of Mourinho being hit by a bottle as players and staff clashed in a brawl of up to 30 people at Old Trafford. The United boss approached City players over the loud dressing room music and celebrations, and minutes later, players and staff were swinging punches.
City coach Mikel Arteta suffered a cut to the head and a member of Mourinho’s backroom staff was hit by a cartoon of milk.
Strachan said Mourinho’s response was understandable.
“I think the main problem with it is that you come up the main tunnel to the dressing rooms and the manager’s office is right next to the away dressing room and further on is the home dressing room,” Strachan said on The Debate on Sky Sports.
“I can understand [Mourinho’s reaction], I really can, because I would like to think if I had players like that, I could say to them ‘listen, we’ve won it, get change, shut up and let’s get on the bus’.
“If that was Sir Alex [Ferguson], in the next team talk, he would say ‘do you remember what they were doing in there when we got beaten?’ so that would be his power, anger and motivation for the next game hearing people singing, dancing and cheering.
“I think Pep Guardiola did do that [told his players to get onto the bus] and his staff wanted to celebrate but he said ‘no, let’s get away’ so if that had happened, two things would have happened. You wouldn’t have got the milk throwing, which is nothing, and it wouldn’t have given ammunition to the manager sitting next door.
“If you want to get back to your own stadium and sing and dance then great, but I think when you’re in that area, in close proximity to the manager’s office as well, although most probably didn’t know it was just there, I think that is energy for the Man Utd players.
“If I was going to be doing anything now, I would be saying ‘do you remember what happened on Saturday? They think they’ve won the league, they think it’s easy, they’ve enjoyed coming here. Let’s do something about this. Every time you make a run, think about that. Every time you go for a header, bullet it into the back of the net because they were enjoying themselves’.”
Strachan’s attitude is the right one: use this defeat and City’s reaction as motivation for the future. It’s the same attitude that Sir Alex Ferguson instilled in his players after City beat United to the 2012 Premier League title.