Manchester City and Manchester United played out a goalless draw Thursday night during the derby at Etihad Stadium, which left the teams in fifth and fourth place respectively of the Premier League table, with the latter one point ahead after 33 games.
City dominated through-out with United playing a defensive game with only 31% possession of the ball all evening, their lowest count in a Premier League game since records began in 2003.
United boss Jose Mourinho seemed content to take away just one point in what was their 13th draw of the league this season and afterwards defended his tactics, insisting he lacked the options in midfield to play with any more ambition, with Paul Pogba’s absence from the midfield obvious.
‘We wanted to do more in terms of attacking and to explore more of the counter attack. In the first half we had good control but the second became more difficult,’ the Portuguese said afterwards.
‘We had to make a decision to play for the draw and had to fight hard to take a point’.
Just 19 seconds after being booked for preventing Sergio Aguero from breaking, hauling the Argentine down, Marouane Fellaini threw his head into City striker following another clash and was shown a straight red card by referee Martin Atkinson in the 84th minute.
Looking to capitalise on their man advantage, City boss Pep Guardiola brought on Gabriel Jesus and the Brazilian sent the fans into raptures after he headed the ball into the United net in stoppage-time, but the goal was correctly ruled as offside.
With a very tight margin within the top-four race a win makes a lot of difference at this stage of the campaign. United, who have now stretched their unbeaten league run to 24 games, have a further five top-flight games and their Europa League campaign to seal their return to the Champions League, with the first leg of their semi-final with Celta Vigo in a week’s time.