After Rashford turned in United&aposs winner, City&aposs frustrations were clear at full-time as a number of their players surrounded the officials to complain at the game&aposs turning point. Led by Joao Cancelo and Ederson, the City players appeared to be getting even angrier, so it was a relief to see manager Pep Guardiola appear and usher all of his players away from the officials, saving them from any unnecessary punishments to compound the defeat. Guardiola had been furious at the decision himself, but kept his head at full-time for the good of his team.
Before kick-off, the City players had to jog the full length of the Old Trafford pitch to the dressing rooms, getting the full pantomime experience from United fans at the Stretford End in the process. As most Blues jogged lightly back for their pre-match team talk, a few greeted BT Sport pundit and former City defender Joleon Lescott who momentarily dropped his &aposimpartial&apos persona to shake hands with Nathan Ake, Bernardo Silva and Kyle Walker live on air.
While his teammates ran, Erling Haaland took a different approach, strolling casually the length of the pitch to growing boos and jeers from United fans who decided early on he would be their villain for the afternoon. In response, Haaland simply took it all in with a smile on his face – after all this was the fixture he said he was looking forward to most after joining the Blues in the summer.
As the players lined up to walk out to &aposThis is the One&apos before the game, there were plenty of pleasantries exchanged between the two rivals. Rodri greeted his Spain teammate David de Gea, as did Kevin De Bruyne and Ederson, while City&aposs Brazilian goalkeeper had friendly words with international colleagues Casemiro, Antony and Fred.
As Rio Ferdinand criticised the idea that players on opposite sides could be so pleasant to each other before kick-off, the new reality proved that many of these elite players put club rivalries to one side in their social lives or when they link up with their national teams. For the Brazilian, Portuguese or Spanish contingent in Manchester, having friends to call upon can be crucial for settling in Manchester, even if they play in different colours on derby day.
City&aposs first-half performance against United was much improved from the defeat at Southampton – although that wasn&apost much of an achievement. Still, the Blues were still too passive for their manager&aposs liking and Guardiola spent much of the first 45 minutes gesturing to his players to speed things up.
At one point he took the matter into his own hands, literally, as a contested ball rolled straight to him in his technical area. Marcus Rashford looked to make the referee&aposs mind up for him by taking a quick throw, but Guardiola had other ideas, picking up the ball and shielding it from the United forward. The officials agreed with the City boss over who should get the throw, and Guardiola was able to keep his side moving quickly by handing the ball to Joao Cancelo.
Kalvin Phillips had a tough time on his full City debut at Southampton, and was rightly dropped for Rodri at Old Trafford. As he warmed up at the start of the second half, Phillips was taunted by the home support who remembered Pep Guardiola&aposs comments that he returned from the World Cup &aposoverweight&apos.
A list of predictable weight-based chants greeted Phillips whenever he jogged out to prepare for a potential cameo, and the United fans in the Stretford End soon turned their attentions to Erling Haaland when they cheekily asked: &aposHaaland, Haaland, how&aposs your dad?&apos and then &aposKeano, Keano&apos in reference to Alfie Haaland&aposs derby day injury from a derby back in 2001. Haaland got a hat-trick at the Etihad in October, but was ineffective at Old Trafford as he couldn&apost lead City to a double in his first season.
City fans fume after controversial Fernandes decision
Fans react to Grealish instant impact vs United