What you saw on TV wasn’t the whole Mourinho incident


Jose Mourinho talks to the press about the incident after the game

What you saw on TV wasn’t the whole Mourinho incident

by Steve Clare, Stamford Bridge

Embattled Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was both victim and dignified at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. The television cameras did not capture the entire incident involving him and Marco Ianni a member of the Chelsea coaching staff.

It showed Ianni running from the Chelsea dugout upfield and punching the air underarm with one fist on his way past Mourinho. Nobody on the United bench reacted to the provocation.

Sadly for Ianni, this was not enough.

On his way back to his own dugout, he stopped right in front of Mourinho, turned to face the United bench and repeated the gesture with both arms and knees bent – almost in a manner befitting what older fans might call a ‘come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough’ stance.

He made eye to eye contact with the Portuguese coach as he did so.

Ringside seat. Fans look through the tunnel to see what’s happening

Thar was enough for Mourinho who has just seen his side throw away what would have been his first victory at Stamford Bridge as United  manager.

He rose out of his seat and followed Ianni who sensibly had scarpered down the tunnel. Two Chelsea stewards acted commendably quickly and prevented him following Ianni. To their credit, their quick thinking prevented a far worse incident. By then the entire stadium was focused on the tunnel, including the players.

Mourinho was quick to use the incident to make a more general point about how unfairly treated he is by the media, telling the BBC’s Match of the Day program:

“Don’t go always in my direction. He was very impolite. Sarri apologised. His assistant also apologised. But don’t do that Mourinho always does things.”

To the press later, he emphasised the forgiving side of his character (see video above).

Of course, this incident takes place against the backdrop of Mourinho’s own behaviour earlier this season when he muttered something sweary in Portuguese into a tv camera after his side’s 3-2 win over Newcastle.

Instead of restarting the game, the players turn to the touchline to observe the shenanigans

Having stressed how quickly he had forgiven Ianni, he managed asides (in almost every interview) that he had occasionally done silly things, with the inference that the authorities should likewise be as forgiving and magnanimous as him. That perhaps detracted from any good that his readiness not to milk the incident had done for him.

There were two other incidents involving Mourinho that the mainstream media missed,

After United’s first goal, his bench seemed set to leap up and go crazy. Whether that was enough or something inappropriate was said, the Portuguese boss turned round to his bench and said ‘no, no’ wagging his finger telling them to tone down some aspect of their behaviour, verbal or physical.

Lastly, as he walked off the pitch after the game, he made a three fingered gesture to the Chelsea fans and pointed to the ground. The meaning was crystal clear, to remind them “I won the league three times here.”

Some more thoughtful fans applauded him. At least one other made the gesture back, which caught his eye and he nodded his approval back to that fan.

Not everything the man does is in the public gaze. And not everything is quite as self-serving as a hostile media might make out. Despite a very exciting match, we are all still talking about one man.

Luckily for David Luiz, who was a liability for Chelsea on the day, that man is  Jose Mourinho.


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