Jose Mourinho has said that Bristol City were "very lucky" following their last-gasp 2-1 win over Manchester United at Ashton Gate on Wednesday.
Joe Bryan opened the scoring for the Robins in the 51st minute with a thunderous strike, but it only took five minutes for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to equalise with a well struck free-kick, before Korey Smith blasted in the winner ten seconds from time. The winner sent Ashton Gate into raptures and holders Manchester United crashing out of the Carabao Cup.
The confident Robins produced a superb team performance which had an abundance of both grit and quality. Nevertheless, they will also feel relieved that United failed to take their chances, thanks to both an excellent Luke Steele in the second-half but also the woodwork in the first.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho made clear that he felt the Robins had benefited from some luck.
"I think we don’t deserve to lose but we lost because the opponent was lucky. I think they scored when nobody expected them to score; they scored when we were the strongest team," Mourinho claimed.
"In the first half we lacked the intensity that they had. Physically and mentally. But we were the team with the opportunities [in the second half]; everyone was waiting for our goal. We hit the post twice.
"We were the team with the strength in our legs – even to go to a strong extra-time – and they scored when we didn’t have time for a reaction," he continued.
In the last few years, it seems that Manchester United are too afraid to properly clear out the deadwood and bring new faces in.— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) December 20, 2017
Four signings in Mourinho’s first year, only three last summer.
Have to be ruthless and get it done.
“It was in our best period that we lost the game. Of course we don’t want extra-time, of course we try to win the game in the 90 minutes – which is why I say they were lucky."
Mourinho did, to some extent, acknowledge the effort which Bristol City had put in over the 90 minutes, adding:
"They had the luck of the game but they fought to be lucky. Sometimes you think that luck comes from nowhere, but normally luck comes from effort, from belief, which they had.
"It was a big night for them and probably for some of my players it wasn’t a big night – it was just one more day in the office and when you play against teams who have that extra motivation, you also need that extra motivation – so congratulations to them.”