Saturday 25 February 2017

Jose Mourinho hails Manchester United crowd in thinly-veiled dig at Chelsea fans

Mark Critchley

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho has hailed the Old Trafford crowd, claiming he has 'never had people like these ones', after Manchester United’s 1-0 EFL Cup win over Manchester City on Wednesday.

Juan Mata’s second-half strike proved enough for the hosts to eliminate their neighbours, the current EFL Cup holders, from the competition.

Mourinho reserved special praise for the home support in his post-match comments, which have been interpreted in some quarters as a veiled attack on Chelsea fans.

“I think in last seven we lost one but it was a big defeat and numbers that the history of this club does not deserve and my heart belongs to the fans and I felt especially deeply for them,” he said.

“But reality is I never had people like these ones. We lost 4-0 and they were supported.

“Today the stadium was full and not full of people, [but] real supporters and it looks like the love that people have for the club is bigger than three bad seasons so we must give something back.”

Mourinho's tribute comes days after United’s support sang loudly for long periods during a 4-0 defeat at Chelsea, despite their team’s abject performance.

Antonio Conte, the Chelsea manager, became frustrated with the apathy of Stamford Bridge's home crowd and began signalling for more noise by waving his arms and pacing down the touchline.

Mourinho appeared to be rankled by Conte’s behaviour and, according to Italian media, accused his opposite number of attempting to ‘humiliate’ United after the final whistle.

After the win over City, the Portuguese added: “[The victory] was a better way to create an absolutely wonderful feeling with fans I’ve never seen like this. I’m very happy for them. I don’t care about myself.

“The performance was good – not phenomenal. But what was phenomenal was the spirit and this is the minimum we can give to the fans.”

Independent News Service

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