Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said Manchester City’s preparations for their derby victory were helped by playing in two “friendly” matches during the past week.
City returned to the top of the Premier League as goals from David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Ilkay Gundogan earned the champions three points at Etihad Stadium.
But Mourinho said the hosts had an advantage as their past two games – home thrashings of Southampton and Shakhtar Donetsk in which they won by an aggregate 12-1 – were significantly more straightforward than his team’s most recent matches.
This was United’s third away game in succession, following back-to-back wins at Bournemouth last weekend and Juventus on Wednesday.
“It’s a heavy result for the effort of a team that had three away matches in the same week, with a super difficult match of a high, demanding level in Juventus against a team that had two friendly matches at home against Southampton and Shakhtar,” Mourinho told BBC Radio 5 live.
“The physical fatigue and the mental fatigue leads to mistakes. They were tired physically and mentally. You need to be in football or another high-level sport to know what that is. The concentration of the big matches, they dry you. You are dry inside. To be ready again for another big match is not easy.”