Jose Mourinho said Manchester United have no right to complain about refereeing decisions after Anthony Martial was controversially sent off in their 6-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Martial was given his marching orders by Anthony Taylor in the 28th minute after an incident with Erik Lamela.
Lamela provoked the Frenchman with an arm to the face and Martial responded in kind with a gentle slap; the former – who reacted by dropping to the ground – was allowed to remain on the pitch while the latter was sent off.
“I didn’t watch it,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “Maybe later I will. If someone can cry about the VAR decisions it is Tottenham and if someone cannot cry about VAR it is Manchester United for sure.
“I don’t know, the only thing I know is we played extremely well. I told my players that a good result here would be to win and we did that.”
“They couldn’t find solutions to control us.” ⬜Jose Mourinho says his Tottenham side played extremely well in their win at Manchester United even before the home side went down to ten men… pic.twitter.com/q99E1ZvWFj
Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was livid at Lamela’s reaction, saying: “This is like a very two-edged sword for me. Anthony, well done for not going down when the lad struck you in the throat but then you shouldn’t react to it like that with a slap in his throat.
“If you do that there’s always a chance they are going to send you off, but come on if that was my son I’d put him in the attic for two weeks without food. You don’t go down like that, at all. It’s an absolute joke.”
Spurs rightfully felt aggrieved at VAR after being held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle United in their previous Premier League match last Sunday, in which Eric Dier was harshly penalised for a handball in the box.
United had enjoyed some good fortune the day prior as they beat Brighton & Hove Albion 3-2 thanks to a 100th-minute penalty for a handball. Although that decision was less controversial in itself, VAR awarded them the spotkick after the final whistle had been blown.
Mourinho also thought the Red Devils were fortunate to only have Martial sent off, saying: “For sure, Man United could have ended the match with eight players because a few other actions could have ended that way.
“But I agree with Anthony Taylor not to because it could have been disastrous for them, Luke Shaw for example.”
Shaw was fortunate to only receive a booking for a cynical challenge on Lucas Moura five minutes from time.
It’s fair to say Mourinho enjoyed his homecoming at Old Trafford, though.
You just know Jose Mourinho is LOVING this 😅#MUNTOTpic.twitter.com/BElTTus0KK
You just knew Mourinho was gunna tap his head. 😂😭I LOVE THIS GAME! pic.twitter.com/QqPmZ6yXum
He praised his side for their performance even before United were reduced to 10 men: “Some people can say you play against 10 men for a long time which is true but for me it is also true that 11 v 11 we were playing extremely well, we were creating huge problems, we were winning 2-1 and they could not find solutions to control us.”
Indeed, although Tottenham fell behind inside two minutes to a Bruno Fernandes penalty, they wasted no time in battling back to take the lead.
Tanguy Ndombele took advantage of some comical defending by Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly to pull Spurs level after four minutes, and Heung-Min Son pounced on a quick freekick from Harry Kane three minutes later.
After Martial was sent off, United proceeded to completely collapse as Harry Kane scored following more poor defending and Son got on the scoresheet a second time, marking the first time they’ve shipped four goals in the first half of a Premier League game.
4 – Manchester United have conceded four goals in the first half of a @premierleague match for the very first time, with this their 1,079th match in the competition. Thumped. pic.twitter.com/vSGrA8PF91
Serge Aurier fired home in the 51st minute before Kane got his brace from the penalty spot 11 minutes from time, following a foul on Ben Davies.
Tottenham will resume their domestic campaign with a home tie against West Ham United on October 18, a day after the Red Devils take on Newcastle.