West Bromwich Albion 1, Manchester United 2
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho revisited his opinions on appropriate levels of celebration after his team heaped further misery on Premier League strugglers West Brom.
A week after he complained that Manchester City players had crossed the line between jubilant and triumphalist following their derby win at Old Trafford, Mourinho was asked why striker Romelu Lukaku had declined to celebrate United’s opening goal against West Brom, the club where he spent the 2012-13 season on loan.
“I didn’t celebrate too. Nobody was happier than me,” said Mourinho.
“Fifteen years ago I look at myself celebrating goals. With maturity you go into levels that you control your emotions better. Romelu was a happy kid at West Brom. Maybe at the back of the mind it was his love for the club.”
Attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard added to Lukaku’s glancing header with a low shot that took a telling deflection off Ahmed Hegazi before half-time.
Veteran midfielder Gareth Barry poked in at a corner to give the Baggies hope of a late rally but they lie 19th, two points from safety, while United remain a distant second.
The comments from Mourinho, who famously ran down the touchline in celebration when his Porto team beat United in 2004, could be seen as another dig at runaway leaders City and their manager, his bitter rival, Pep Guardiola.
The Football Association is investigating a tunnel fracas that followed City’s derby win and Mourinho’s subsequent complaints that the visitors’ loud celebrations were disrespectful.
West Brom manager Alan Pardew, who has taken just two points from his first four matches in charge, blamed his decision to make just one change from a midweek draw at Liverpool.
“I made a mistake with the team. I wanted to show faith after the game at Liverpool but should have brought fresher legs in. I have to accept blame,” said Pardew.
“Our conviction wasn’t there first half in terms of passing. In the second half we started putting balls in the box to test them. A finish where we could have got something from the game that could have flattered us. Lessons learned for myself and the team today.”