Fracas forces Mourinho's protégé into the spotlight

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The most absorbing Champions' League match of the season is likely to live long in the memory, but Chelsea and Barcelona's feud over the alleged racial slurs directed at Samuel Eto'o by a Stamford Bridge steward are also destined to rumble on.

The most absorbing Champions' League match of the season is likely to live long in the memory, but Chelsea and Barcelona's feud over the alleged racial slurs directed at Samuel Eto'o by a Stamford Bridge steward are also destined to rumble on.

The Cameroon international, who accused a Stamford Bridge steward of racially abusing him, also took great exception to what he saw as Mourinho's negative tactics.

"We were the only team that wanted to play football," Eto'o said. "Chelsea going through is a disaster for football. And if this team wins the Champions' League, it would make you want to retire. With so much money and so many players, what they do is not football. Mourinho is shameless. At the end they followed his game. They did what he wanted."

Giovanni van Bronckhorst added his voice to the protests yesterday when he said that the Barcelona players were in full support of their team-mate. Uefa, the governing body of European football, has already received the match report from the referee, Pierluigi Collina, who made no mention of the unseemly scuffle that took place between Barcelona officials and players and the Chelsea chief scout, Andre Villas Boas.

The Italian referee kept his distance from the fray as the home side celebrated on the pitch and the key account of what happened will come from Uefa's Austrian delegate, Gerhard Kapl, who was in the tunnel at the end of the match.

Eto'o could be seen squaring up to Villas Boas seconds after Frank Rijkaard was dragged away from the Chelsea coach's protégé and bundled down the tunnel. Van Bronckhorst said: "Eto'o came into the dressing-room and said he was racially abused. It is a disgrace. In this day and age everyone is doing their best to rid the game of racist abuse and when this happens it is very sad. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth."

While there is no suggestion that it was Villas Boas who racially abused Eto'o, the Barcelona striker has alleged that a Chelsea steward called him a "monkey of shit" during the fracas. Chelsea last night mounted a robust defence of the steward.

A club statement read: "We have now interviewed the steward who it is alleged made a racist remark after last night's match. We have also taken statements from several others who were close to the incident.

"The steward concerned is extremely upset that this accusation has been levelled against him. The club are totally satisfied that he did not make a racist remark and we completely refute the allegation being made against him."

Uefa has indicated that there is unlikely to be any action taken because a case against the club steward would be virtually impossible to prove.

The role of Villas Boas in the exchanges at the end of the match is likely to bring the charismatic 27-year-old, who is head of Mourinho's Orwellian-titled "Opposition Observation Department", out of the shadows. The chief scout compiles Mourinho's legendary, detailed four-page reports on the opposition, which take four days to complete, and even followed Manchester United to America this summer to prepare a report on them for the first day of the Premiership season.

Nicknamed "mini-Mourinho", he harbours coaching ambitions of his own. A fluent English speaker, thanks to an English grandmother, he got his break when Sir Bobby Robson moved into the same apartment block as his family when he was appointed Porto's coach in 1994. The former Newcastle United manager used his contacts to get Villas Boas experience at Lilleshall and at Ipswich Town under George Burley. He has all the Uefa coaching qualifications and became technical director of the British Virgin Islands football team when he was just 21. He returned to Porto, coached the Under-19s and was spotted by Mourinho.

Frank Lampard said that the accusations from Barcelona after the first leg that Chelsea were a dull, defensive side was a key part of the inspiration that his team drew upon to win the match.

"A lot was said from the Spanish side before this game but I think we showed a lot of people in Europe that we have the character and ability," he said. "The idea that we're boring and unexciting was shown to be wrong."

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