Jose Mourinho was unimpressed with Sergio Aguero’s role in the incident which saw Marouane Fellaini sent off for headbutting the Argentinian during Thursday’s fiery Manchester derby.
Manchester United midfielder Fellaini was dismissed six minutes from the end of a frantic goalless draw with City on Thursday after the most serious of three clashes with Aguero in quick succession.
The Belgian was booked for tripping Aguero and then repeated the offence less than a minute later. His temper then got the better of him as he headbutted the City striker and referee Martin Atkinson showed a straight red card.
City, who had dominated most the game at the Etihad Stadium, were unable to take advantage of their extra man and had to settle for a point and remaining fourth in the Premier League. United are just a point behind in fifth in a tight battle for Champions League places.
Mourinho said: “Marouane says it was a red card because he is Marouane, Martin Atkinson told me in his opinion it was a red card but I saw Aguero in the tunnel – no broken nose, no broken head, his face is as nice as always.
“So, I am not so sure. I think if Sergio doesn’t go to the floor, for sure it is not a red card. But if Marouane gave him the chance to do that… I don’t know.
“I didn’t watch but probably I can guess it’s a bit of a red card and that it’s a bit of a very experienced, smart Argentinian player.”
City substitute Gabriel Jesus, returning after more than two months out injured, thought he had scored a dramatic late winner but his header was ruled out for offside. Aguero had hit the post early on in the game and spurned a number of other opportunities, including one in injury time.
United’s best chances came after a Claudio Bravo blunder offered Henrikh Mkhitaryan a shooting opportunity he could not take while Ander Herrera also headed wide.
Other than that United were mostly on the back foot, but Mourinho felt they acquitted themselves well.
Asked if it was a fair result, Mourinho said: “I think so because of our amazing spirit and our very good first half, when we easily controlled the game.”
Opposite number Pep Guardiola did not want to get drawn into a war of words with his old adversary about the Fellaini-Aguero incident.
The City boss said: “Next question. I’m not going to talk at my press conference about an action that was in the last minutes – it did nothing to change the game – so nothing.”
Guardiola fears Bravo could miss the remainder of the season after being carried off on a stretcher with a calf injury 11 minutes from time.
He said: “Tomorrow we will know better. He has an injury, probably for some weeks. Seeing as though we are in the final stage of the season I don’t know if he will be available.”