For the entirety of the first half of the Manchester derby, it was easy to forget who was actually the home side such was Manchester City’s dominance.
Pep Guardiola’s team dominated possession and were given plenty of space by United during the opening 45 minutes.
Goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho gave the away side a 2-0 lead as they threatened to run away from the match before the break.
However, just before half-time, debutant Claudio Bravo dropped a Wayne Rooney free-kick at the feet of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who finished superbly to haul the Red Devils back into the clash.
Jose Mourinho now had a very important 15 minutes to get his instructions across to his players. Surely a Sir Alex Ferguson style hairdryer treatment was in order.
With both Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard both being replaced at the break, you’d think that’s exactly what Mourinho did.
However, according to The Sun, that’s not really what happened. They’re reporting that it was the players that had a ‘blazing row’ while Mourinho stepped back and allowed them to thrash things out.
A United source said: “The hairdryer came out for the first time this season, but it had nothing to do with Jose.
“The players could be heard shouting and arguing amongst themselves during the interval. Jose decided to let them blow off steam for a couple of minutes.
“He then quietened the whole situation down and told them they also needed to calm down or the second half could be much worse.
“Goodness knows what it would have been like if Zlatan wasn’t handed that gift.”
While an almighty argument between United’s players didn’t affect the scoreline in the second half, they looked a completely different side after the break.
That may have had something to do with the introductions of Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera at half-time – but maybe the row between the players helped galvanise the team.
A Manchester derby defeat may take a while to get over for the United players, but they have no time to dwell on their 2-1 loss.
The Red Devils will travel to the Netherlands this week to play their opening Europa League fixture against Feyenoord, before an away trip to Watford on Sunday in the Premier League.
Although Mourinho may well have been disappointed with the performance of his players on Saturday, at least he can’t deny their passion off the pitch.