Jose Mourinho has said to ignore the stats from Manchester United’s poor season so far, and blamed the club’s derby defeat by Manchester City on the sides’ different weeks. 

While United travelled to Turin for a tough match against Juventus, Pep Guardiola’s side had an easy home win against Shakhtar Donetsk, and the derby wasn’t that much more difficult with the champions winning 3-1. That leaves Mourinho’s team on eighth in the table and on a negative goal difference, and closer in points to Cardiff City than Manchester City.

The Portuguese acerbically joked that “I think we are not going to be relegated”, before arguing that the situation doesn’t yet tell the true story.

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“One thing is they won in the championship first match of the season and analyse things, the points, they show that one team starts strong and is still strong and another team didn’t start well and is improving a lot,” Mourinho said of the difference between the two Manchester sides. 

“If you focus on the game today, it was open for 80-something minutes. I think nobody left the stadium before their third goal because the game was open in a week when they play three home games and have 6-1, 6-0 victories, relaxed, everything nice and easy and we play two matches away, difficult where the second was like a final against one of the best teams in Europe where we give everything physically, mentally.

“The way people who don’t understand football analyse it with stats. I don’t go for stats. I go for what I felt in the game and it was there until minute 80-something. I consider the performance of my team one with mistakes. It is different from a bad performance. We made mistakes. We were punished but the fight, the togetherness, it is something we are building and are not going to lose that because of defeat.”

Mourinho didn’t think the most important stat – the scoreline – was fair.

“If the third goal is scored in one of the moments where they were dominating I would probably say so but it comes in a moment where we were in the fight to get the equaliser.

“The game against Juventus was very hard from a physical and mental point of view. I am with my players, we are together. We are improving, we are together and we go together until the end.”

Mourinho also argued that Marouane Fellaini was not fit enough for 90 minutes, with Paul Pogba too injured to play any part at all.

“I don’t like very, very much to speak about a player not there but he [Pogba] is important for us in many aspects. We had to play Fellaini, he was not ready to play for 90 minutes. I can imagine when the result was 2-1 to bring a fresh Fellaini, I think they would be in big, big trouble. When we had that final push, Fellaini was doing an incredible effort to stay on the pitch, risking his injury and condition to stay on the pitch. For different reasons we miss Paul so that doesn’t mean with Paul we win the game so that is not an excuse.”

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