Football: Jose loses but still 'the no. 1'

Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante getting the better of fellow France international Paul Pogba. The match-winner outshone the Manchester United midfielder in the FA Cup on Monday.
Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante getting the better of fellow France international Paul Pogba. The match-winner outshone the Manchester United midfielder in the FA Cup on Monday.PHOTO: REUTERS

United boss reminds Blues fans who the best manager at Chelsea is, as holders exit FA Cup

LONDON • Jose Mourinho hit back at Antonio Conte and a section of the home support at Stamford Bridge by insisting "Judas is still No. 1" as Manchester United's defence of the FA Cup came to an end at the hands of his former club Chelsea on Monday.

The Portuguese was taunted by some home fans in the east stand during a fractious quarter-final tie with chants of "Judas", "You're not special any more" and even "F*** off Mourinho". The United manager responded by pointing to the turf and holding up three fingers at his detractors, signifying the three Premier League titles he claimed in two spells in south-west London.

Mourinho also clashed with his opposite number Conte following referee Mike Oliver's decision to dismiss United midfielder Ander Herrera for two bookable offences. The second caution was relatively soft.

Fourth official Mike Jones was twice forced to keep them apart on the touchline as emotions ran high.

"The fans can call me what they want," said Mourinho, who was sacked in December 2015 with Chelsea, the title holders at the time, lying in 16th in the Premier League.

  • FA CUP SEMI-FINALS

    Chelsea v Tottenham

    Arsenal v Man City

    Both ties scheduled to be played at Wembley on April 22, 23

"Until the moment Chelsea have a manager that wins four Premier Leagues for them, I'm the No. 1. For this moment, Judas is No. 1."

Herrera will now serve a two-match ban after his second dismissal of the campaign, while the Football Association may choose to scrutinise footage of Marcos Rojo's apparent stamp on Eden Hazard late on, which went unpunished.

Mourinho added that the sending-off changed the game and that his side would have won had it been 11 versus 11.

"I think we can agree there was a match until Herrera saw the red card and there was another match after that," said the 54-year-old, whose side can still add the Europa League to the League Cup they have already secured in his first season in charge.

"Before that, I saw a match that we were going to win. When we had one player fewer they could be more dominant. But in spite of that we defended well and had the biggest chances."

NO BLUES BOSS HAS MORE THAN MOUR

Until the moment Chelsea have a manager that wins four Premier Leagues for them, I'm the No. 1. For this moment, Judas is No. 1.

'' JOSE MOURINHO , Manchester United manager, giving Chelsea fans a message after they taunted him on his return to Stamford Bridge. He delivered three Premier League titles as Chelsea boss.

Conte, whose side now confront Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup semi-final, shook hands with Mourinho in the tunnel post-match but was critical of his opponents' approach. He suggested United's eagerness to close the home side down had led to them resorting to kicking Hazard.

"We've got to play football but for 25 minutes it was impossible for Hazard to play football," said the Italian.

"I see only that he got a lot of kicks. Only kicking. He started the game receiving kicks, and he finished receiving kicks. This is not football for me. I don't think this can be a tactic. This is the truth. Everyone saw this. I think sometimes, when you play against players with great talent, you try and intimidate these players.

"I think the referee must protect this type of player. What happens if they are put out with a bad injury?"

Conte saluted Hazard for refusing to be intimidated by United's "bullying" as N'Golo Kante's second-half winner gave the Premier League leaders a 1-0 win.

"For sure, he showed strong character. After the first 25 minutes, every player would have a fear of being kicked," he added.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2017, with the headline 'Jose loses but still 'the no. 1''. Print Edition | Subscribe