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Football Reporting


‘Man Utd would’ve been champions if City played by the rules’ – Mourinho’s former assistant takes aim at Guardiola’s side

Ricardo Formosinho worked alongside a proven Portuguese coach at Old Trafford and has hit out at the Blues for breaching FFP regulations

Manchester United would have been Premier League champions in 2017-18 if Manchester City played by the rules, says Jose Mourinho’s former assistant Ricardo Formosinho, with the Blues found to have breached Financial Fair Play regulations.

Pep Guardiola claimed his first English top-flight crown during his second season at the Etihad Stadium.

His old adversary Mourinho had to settle for a runner-up spot, with a 19-point gap separating those at the summit from the rest of the chasing pack.

That is as close as United have to come to recapturing domestic dominance since Sir Alex Ferguson headed into retirement on the back of a 13th title triumph in 2013.

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Formosinho believes the Red Devils would have emerged victorious under Mourinho’s guidance had they been competing on a level playing field, with City deemed to have bent the rules when it comes to splashing out on new recruits.

“We weren’t champions, it’s true, but we won the Europa League, the League Cup, the Super Cup and, in a fight with a Manchester City, who did not fulfil, as proved later, the Financial Fair Play, we were runners-up at a time when, having sporting truth, we would’ve been champions,” Formosinho told Record.

He added on current Tottenham boss Mourinho, who has enjoyed success wherever he has been in a distinguished coaching career: “People may ask why he’s the best. I answer that because he thinks faster and comes up with solutions faster.

“When talking about the growth of others at the tactical level, he goes far ahead strategically. He’s different for the better. I’d even say much better.”

United finished as runners-up in the Premier League under Mourinho with Romelu Lukaku leading their line in a No.9 berth.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who netted 28 times across all competitions in the previous season, was still around after committing to another short-term deal, but he had to work his way back from a serious knee injury.

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The enigmatic Swede eventually departed Old Trafford in March 2018, as he headed to MLS to link up with the LA Galaxy, and Formosinho admits he was a big loss for United on and off the field.

He added: “In the last year we lost a great man and leader of the dressing room: Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“He was an irreplaceable reference. We really missed him.”

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