Jose Mourinho would most definitely not believe his Manchester counterpart will defeat him at Old Trafford, Pep Guardiola however, came out on top in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford as he renewed hostilities with managerial nemesis.
Manchester City threatened to humiliate Manchester United in a dominant first-half display, racing to a 2-0 lead through goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho.
But a mistake by City keeper Claudio Bravo, making his debut following his move from Barcelona, allowed Zlatan Ibrahimovic to pull a goal back for United.
Mourinho threw on young striker Marcus Rashford after the break, and the 18-year-old had the ball in the net, but the goal was disallowed after coming off Ibrahimovic, who was offside.
Bravo, brought in to replace England keeper Joe Hart, endured a jittery debut and was lucky not to concede a penalty and be sent off for a reckless lunge on Wayne Rooney after the Chilean had lost control of the ball inside his own area.
De Bruyne nearly made it 3-1 to City when he burst through on goal in the second-half, but his shot cannoned off the inside of David De Gea’s near post and scurried across the goal-line to safety.
It mattered not, as City held on to preserve their 100 per cent start to the season and consign Mourinho to his first defeat as United boss.
The enforced absence of star striker Sergio Aguero, serving the first of a three-game ban for violent conduct, was seen as a major disadvantage for City.
But Pep Guardiola showed the range of attacking options he has at his disposal by picking young forward Kelechi Iheanacho to lead the line.
The teenager justified his manager’s decision with an assist and a goal, before coming off early in the second half for tactical reasons. City proved they are not reliant on Aguero.
With only 24 minutes gone, and United trailing 1-0, Mourinho instructed Martial, Mata, Rashford and later Herrera to warm up, knowing he had picked the wrong starting-line up and change was needed.
Selecting Mkhitaryan and Lingard for their first competitive starts under him backfired, the former looking like he was still feeling the effects of a rib injury, while Lingard, making his return after injury, was also off the pace, although they were by no means alone, with none of United’s players justifying their selection.
Marcus Rashford should have started, his introduction after the break bringing fresh impetus to United’s play.
Not deemed good enough by Mourinho at Chelsea, De Bruyne came back to haunt his former boss, scoring City’s opener and having a hand in their second, after his angled shot came back off a a post, into the path of Iheanacho for the simplest of finishes.
De Bruyne was afforded so much freedom by United and took full advantage, punishing United for their slack defending and lack of focus at the back.
De Bruyne should have claimed his second goal and made it 3-1 deep into the second-half, but his low shot struck the inside of David De Gea’s near post in a let-off for United.
Mourinho kept faith with Bailly and Blind in central defence, after their impressive start to the season and the understanding they had developed as a pairing.
But both endured afternoons they will want to forget, particularly Blind, who let De Bruyne through for City’s opener, then played Iheanacho onside for the visitors’ second goal.
Bailly was also at fault for the first goal, failing to jump with Iheanacho, whose glancing header found De Bruyne. Blind has always been a temporary solution in defence for United and showed why United need to bring in another centre-half of stature.
Having jettisoned Hart, Guardiola handed his replacement, Bravo, his City debut, but the former Barcelona keeper was at fault for United’s first goal, clashing with John Stones and dropping the ball, allowing Ibrahimovic to pull one back with an exquisite finish.
It was a big call to hand Bravo his debut in a game of such significance and intensity, and the Chilean was lucky to escape a red card for a reckless lunge on Rooney when he mis-controlled the ball inside his own area.
Wonder what Hart would have made of such an error-strewn debut by his replacement?