Jose Mourinho defends referee Kevin Friend after Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Bournemouth

Mourinho felt Friend got the two penalty decisions right and said that he had "no interest" in criticising Bournemouth defender Tyrone Mings for his stamp on Zlatan Ibrahimovic's head

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Jose Mourinho defended the decision-making of referee Kevin Friend after Manchester United’s incident-packed 1-1 draw with Bournemouth, during which two penalties were awarded, Andrew Surman was sent-off and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Tyrone Mings both escaped red-cards despite repeated clashes.

Mings appeared to stamp on Ibrahimovic’s head just before half-time, moments before the Manchester United striker retaliated by catching Mings with a swinging elbow. Ibrahimovic had already been yellow-carded but Friend did not penalise either player, instead sending off Andrew Surman for a push on the Swede.

In the second-half Friend awarded a penalty to United after harshly judging Adam Smith to have blocked Paul Pogba’s cross with his arm. In the first-half, he gave a penalty to Bournemouth following a mistimed lunge from Phil Jones on Charlie Daniels.

Despite the controversy, Mourinho felt compelled to defend Friend.

"The referee made his decisions, I always defend that the referee is the one that has the decisions,” the manager said in his short post-match press conference. 

“Two important decisions Kevin (Friend) had it right, the two penalties are two penalties, no doubt about it so for me the referee.”

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Mourinho refused to criticise Mings (Getty)

Mourinho also refused to discuss the coming-together between Mings and Ibrahimovic, dismissing repeated questions on the spat between the players by saying the matter was “not important” to him.

"I'm a football man, I'm in football for many, many years, I don't like to speak after matches what happened during matches," Mourinho said.

"What happened during matches, happened during matches and the referee was there. If you ask me that I am happy if Tyrone Mings gets three or four or five matches ban, I really don't care about it. 

“He knows what he did, he knows better than anyone what he did. He knows better than the referee the intention or the emotion of the moment.

"I don't want to speak about it, it's not important for me. Important for me is the result of the game, is the fact that once more we deserved to win by far but we didn't and we lost two points and we lost a good opportunity to close the gap and jump a little bit.”

Mourinho’s captain, Wayne Rooney, was more forthcoming after the match and criticised Mings for the stamp, declaring that there was “no room” in the game for such behaviour.

"I don't think the referee has seen Tyrone Mings try and stamp on Zlatan's head. I was right there,” said Rooney. 

“That's wrong in football. Everyone likes tackles in the game but to try and stamp on a player's head - there's no room for it.”

Rooney, who was recalled to the first-team by Mourinho for the match but who failed to get himself on the score sheet despite three very presentable chances, was also frustrated at what he felt were two dropped points. 

United enjoyed 68% of possession and had 20 shots on goal compared to Bournemouth’s 3, but failed to break the deadlock in the second-half.

"It's two points dropped. We have to keep going, fighting and believing and try to put it right,” Rooney added.

"We created a lot of chances, the keeper made good saves and there were times in the game when they'd have the ball and become a threat on the counter attack.”

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