Jose Mourinho afforded referee Michael Oliver a backhanded compliment after 10-man Manchester United crashed out of the FA Cup with a 1-0 defeat at Chelsea.
N’Golo Kante’s goal six minutes into the second half was enough to keep Mourinho’s former club on track for the double – but the sending off of United’s Ander Herrera on 35 minutes provided the game’s big talking point.
Our analysis claimed Herrera doesn’t have the required restraint needed to be truly considered world class, but speaking about the red card, Mourinho told the BBC after the match: “I don’t speak [about the red card]. I just want to say that I’m really proud of my players and Manchester United fans.
“We have a very important match on Thursday and I want to rest a little bit and prepare as best as we can.
“Everybody can analyse from different perspectives but we all watch the match until the red card and after the red card. So we can compare the decisions of the two yellow cards, in this case with others which were not given.”
When pressed again about Oliver’s performance, Mourinho said: “I don’t want to go in that direction. Michael Oliver is a referee with fantastic potential but in four matches he has given three penalties against us and now a red card. I cannot change that.
“I shook his hand and said many congratulations.”
Mourinho reminded Chelsea supporters of his Stamford Bridge successes after being taunted by fans during the game.
The Portuguese, Chelsea’s most successful manager, pointed to himself, then the pitch and signalled with three fingers – for the number of Premier League titles he won in two spells – after being subjected to abuse from a section of fans behind the visiting dugout in United’s 1-0 quarter-final loss.
One section of supporters chanted “F*** off Mourinho”, “It’s all your fault” – a reference to Chelsea’s implosion last season – “You’re not special any more” and “Judas”.
Mourinho told the post-match media conference: “They can call me what they want.
“Until the moment they have a manager that wins four Premier Leagues for them, I’m the number one.
“When they have somebody that wins four Premier Leagues for them, I become number two.
“Until this moment Judas is number one.”
Fourth official Mike Jones was required to intervene as Mourinho protested and Conte took exception.
It was reminiscent of when, as Chelsea manager, Mourinho was pushed by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, although it did not become physical on this occasion.
Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea for a second time in December 2015, seven months after winning the Premier League title. He was boss when Chelsea won their first championship in 50 years in 2005.
The self-proclaimed Special One was appointed United boss in May 2016 and suffered his biggest defeat in English football as United lost 4-0 to Conte’s Chelsea in the Premier League last October.
Chelsea supporters turned on some of the Blues players days later, but now Mourinho, who won the EFL Cup with United last month, is out of favour.
Chants of “Antonio” drowned out those of “Jose Mourinho” from the visiting United fans as Chelsea won courtesy of N’Golo Kante’s goal.