Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has taken a veiled swipe at Manchester City star Sergio Aguero before Sunday ’ s derby showdown at the Etihad Stadium.
Mourinho said of Aguero that “ there are little things in his game I am not a fan of” , although he declined to elaborate further when asked .
Aguero , City ’ s all -time leading scorer, was criticised heavily by Mourinho after a 0 – 0 draw with United at the Etihad in April 2017 .
United midfielder Marouane Fellaini was sent off for a headbutt on the Argentina international, with Mourinho suggesting the striker’ s reaction had been over -dramatic .
“ I saw Aguero in the tunnel but ( there was ) no broken nose , no broken head , ( and ) his face is nice as always , ” Mourinho said at the time .
Mourinho was quick to pay tribute to Aguero ’ s qualities as a goalscorer before United ’ s latest clash with arch rivals City, but he dropped a strong hint that he believes there is a dark side to his game .
“ I only fear when I play against him . I admire him because of his fantastic qualities , ” Mourinho said .
“ There are little things in his game that I am not a big fan of, but the numbers speak by themselves . The number of goals he scores .
“ It is not about scoring for one season , it is about scoring goals in your career . It is about scoring goals in a different league , like the Spanish league . Clearly he is a goalscorer all over the world . ”
Asked what it was about Aguero he was not a fan of, Mourinho responded : “ I keep ( that ) for me . ”
Meanwhile , the United manager made what appeared to be a reference to City’ s spending when discussing his own squad rebuilding job at Old Trafford .
Mourinho has spent an estimated £ 370 million ( $ 480 million ) on players since arriving at United in May 2016 , while City manager Pep Guardiola is thought to have spent around £ 485 million over the same period .
– Case for the defence –
United have spent extensively in central defence , midfield and attack during Mourinho’ s reign , although the manager chose to focus on the full- back positions , an area in which City invested heavily in the summer of 2017 , when they signed Kyle Walker , Benjamin Mendy and Danilo .
Mourinho cited the example of Luke Shaw , a player who is now a regular in the United side after a long spell struggling for form , as an example of his ability to develop players on his books rather than dip into the transfer market for a replacement .
“ If I need a full- back and I buy four , it is easier , ” Mourinho said .
“ If I need a full-back because I am not happy with Luke Shaw ’ s level , the easiest thing is to buy four . Some clubs can buy four . ”
City have only bought three full- backs under Guardiola , but no other Premier League club has spent as much money in that position over the past three years , suggesting that they were the target of Mourinho’ s comments .
“ We didn ’ t buy a left – back for three years . We were wishing and working for Luke Shaw to be that left – back , but during that process we played Matteo Darmian , we played Ashley Young, we played Marcos Rojo , ” he said .
“ We didn ’ t buy four . There is a difference . To buy four you only need good scouting and money . To make players takes more time . ”
United go into Sunday ’ s derby having won three games in a row , reducing talk of a crisis that , at one stage in early October , looked as if it might cost Mourinho his job .
The former Chelsea boss says fevered talk of problems at Old Trafford comes with the territory of managing such a prestigious club .
“ It is Manchester United ’ s fault . When I say fault , I mean for the right reasons , ” he said .
“ It is the history of the club that makes one defeat become a crisis . It is the history , the prestige. ”
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