Saturday 17 March 2018

Jurgen Klopp finds an unlikely ally in Jose Mourinho as Manchester United boss defends officials

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

James Ducker

Jose Mourinho has applauded the officials at Old Trafford for not sending off Jurgen Klopp after the Liverpool manager raced about 20 metres down the touchline to berate his defender Dejan Lovren.

Klopp was furious with Lovren for diving into Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini twice in quick succession late in the second half as Liverpool chased an equaliser at 2-1 down and charged a long way out of his technical area to challenge the Croat.

But Mourinho – who was sent to the stands against Southampton in September after momentarily stepping foot on the pitch at St Mary's – praised referee Craig Pawson and fourth official Martin Atkinson for applying some common sense in relation to Klopp's behaviour.

"Probably you are not expecting my answer – I'm happy with the decision," the United manager said. "Because he [Klopp] was not speaking against the referee. He was upset with a player and the same happened to me against Crystal Palace, where I was upset with my player and therefore they [the officials] understood that too.

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"I think Martin Atkinson, after so many years of this, made the right decision. I saw it. He [Klopp] was very upset with his player and not at the referee.

"If you leave the technical area by a couple of metres - or in this case, 20 metres - but to speak to your own player and not to complain about the referee's decision, they made the right decision."

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