Goals at set-pieces from David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi, either side of a Marcus Rashford equaliser, proved enough for City to triumph 2-1 at Old Trafford and extend their Premier League lead to 11 points.
United boss Mourinho felt his side should have had a penalty in the latter stages following a challenge by Otamendi on Ander Herrera but instead the United player was booked for diving. City goalkeeper Ederson also made a fine double save in the closing moments from Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata.
Mourinho said: “You can speak about anything you want, you can bring any football theory, you can bring stats, ball possession, everything – but, like last season, it is a huge penalty in a crucial moment of the game.
“But I also feel sorry for [referee] Michael Oliver because I think he had a good game, assistants the same. I think they came with the intention to make the perfect work, which they almost did.
“When you see Manchester City play you expect them to score great goals, not to score two ‘disgraceful’ goals. They are the last goals you expect to concede against a quality team like Manchester City, two very bad goals – one corner, one free-kick with rebounds, incredibly lucky or unlucky depending on your perspective.
“Yes, they had much more of the ball, yes they had that apparent control of the ball, but the biggest save is the double save by their goalkeeper and the biggest decision of the game is the unlucky decision of Michael.”
The game kicked off in light snowfall and City edged in front just before the break. Kevin De Bruyne’s outswinging corner hit Lukaku as the United striker challenged for the ball with Otamendi, and Silva was on hand to guide the loose ball past stranded goalkeeper David De Gea from just inside the six-yard box.
United responded – against the run of play – on the stroke of half-time. Otamendi misjudged the flight of the ball and succeeded only in glancing a header backwards, behind his flat-footed left-back Fabian Delph. Rashford was more alert, driving a first-time shot low past Ederson.
This state of equality didn’t long. Nine minutes after the restart Lukaku was back helping his defence and had time and space to deal with Silva’s floated free-kick. Yet the Belgian striker managed to smash his attempted clearance into the back of teammate Chris Smalling. Just as with the first goal, the ball dropped kindly for a City player, with Otamendi this time powering home the finish.
Mourinho, pictured below, admitted City’s lead in the title race was now at a “significant distance”.
City manager Pep Guardiola had no time for Mourinho’s complaints. “Last season it was the same, we won here and the comments were the referee. Today we have won and the comments are the same as well,” said Guardiola. “We won because we were better, in all departments. It is not easy to create chances at United because they are so strong defensively. It was an amazing save from Ederson but I think De Gea had more saves.”