They were outplayed by Pep Guardiola’s side, particularly in the first half, on their own turf and Mourinho was bitterly disappointed with the performances of several of his players.
The United boss took responsibility for his team’s defeat - sort of, anyway - and admitted, with the benefit of hindsight, that he got the team selection wrong.
Mourinho sprang a surprise by starting both Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with Juan Mata and Anthony Martial dropping to the subs’ bench.
The Portuguese coach withdrew both players at half-time but, rather than turning to Martial to replace the ineffective Lingard, he sent on Marcus Rashford instead.
Martial has been underwhelming this season
Martial underwhelmed during United’s first four fixtures of the season, including the Community Shield against Leicester City, but put himself in contention for a start against City with a fine goal for France against Italy during the international break.
Mourinho sent the Frenchman on in place of Luke Shaw for the final nine minutes of the derby, but that was insufficient time for him to make an impact on the match.
Cascarino: Martial is 'doomed' under Mourinho
One man who fears for Martial is the former Chelsea and Republic of Ireland striker Tony Cascarino.
In fact, the 54-year-old believes Martial is “doomed” under the current Man Utd boss.
“Anthony Martial is doomed at Manchester United,” he wrote in The Times. “Signed for £59 million in September 2015 he was United’s star player last season, but already he seems out of sorts. He is out of the team and could be the latest wide man to fall victim to José Mourinho’s management.”
On what Mourinho expects from his wide-man, Cascarino continued. “Essentially he wants them to be like Willian, his go-to man at Chelsea. Martial doesn’t fit that mould and therefore didn’t start but Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan failed to perform and were subbed at half-time. Martial came on for the final ten minutes while Juan Mata, the other potential wide man, remained on the bench.”
He added: “Martial struggling under Mourinho would not be the first time that we’ve seen the Portuguese waste talent out wide. Damien Duff, Joe Cole, Shaun Wright-Phillips, André Schürrle and Juan Cuadrado are all talented players but they failed to fulfil their potential — and big transfer fees — during Mourinho’s time at Chelsea. Even Eden Hazard and Arjen Robben, two of the best wingers of the past decade, have suffered under the ‘Special One’.
“Martial needs freedom and licence to attack and not have to worry constantly about defending — he won’t get that under Mourinho and, given all his talent, I can’t see him being too willing to change his style.”
Mourinho has to keep faith in Martial
Although Martial has endured a difficult start to his second season in English football, it’s difficult to believe that Mourinho will give up in his attempts to bring the best out of such a talented footballer.
The 20-year-old was one of the highlights of Louis van Gaal’s two-year tenure and, on the evidence of last season, possesses the potential to become one of the world’s best forwards.
It should be noted that Martial has recently gone through a messy break-up with the partner of his child and this clearly hasn’t helped matters.
But United fans know how special Martial is and are counting on Mourinho helping him to rediscover his form and confidence over the coming weeks.
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