Mourinho astonishes football again (by saying he is sorry)

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The Independent Football

It was as rare an event as a Chelsea defeat and even more startling: yesterday Jose Mourinho apologised. Admittedly, the Chelsea manager's retreat from his comments about Andrew Johnson came in the face of threats of legal action by Everton and disciplinary moves by the Football Association.

Mourinho had implied, after Chelsea's weekend defeat of Everton, that Johnson dived when he leaped over the goalkeeper Hilario under pressure from Khalid Boulahrouz. The referee, Mark Halsey, did not give a penalty and Mourinho waved an imaginary card at Johnson.

He later said: "In my country we would call him an 'intelligent' player. Here, you are more critical. I have been in this country for three years now, I am influenced by your culture. It is a culture I admire. So, when a player chases a penalty, he is not the intelligent player I would have called him a few years ago. If I want to be polite, I would call him a dangerous kind of opponent. You cannot trust him and I was not happy. I think he felt a bit embarrassed because after that he behaved very well."

On Tuesday Everton said they would make an official complaint to the FA and would sue Mourinho if he did not apologise. Yesterday Mourinho said: "I said Andy Johnson is a great player and I never used aggressive words like some managers did against my players in previous seasons, or like some others said recently about him and [Cristiano] Ronaldo. I never used the word 'cheat'.

"After seeing it again on the video, Mr Halsey did wonderful work and both decisions for penalties [Everton were later awarded one] were correct. Did Andy Johnson try to avoid a collision with my goalkeeper? It seems now the answer to that is yes so Everton, his manager and he deserve my apologies."

Everton subsequently announced they would neither take legal action, nor write to the FA.

While you're about it... Others Jose could apologise to

* WILLIAM GALLAS In September, after the defender moved to Arsenal in part-exchange for Ashley Cole, Mourinho claimed he had threatened to score an own goal, or get himself dismissed, if Chelsea refused to let him leave. He also said Gallas wanted more money. Gallas denies the charges.

* ANDERS FRISK The Swedish referee retired after Mourinho claimed he had colluded with Frank Rijkaard, the Barcelona coach, at half-time in a Champions' League tie in February 2005. Frisk received death threats and a Uefa official called Mourinho an 'enemy of football'.

* LIVERPOOL FANS When Chelsea equalised, through a late own goal from Stephen Gerrard, in the 2005 Carling Cup final, Mourinho put his finger to his lips to 'shush' the Liverpool fans. Mourinho claimed, improbably given the direction he was facing, that it was directed at the English press.

* STEPHEN HUNT Mourinho accused the Reading winger of deliberately striking Petr Cech in the head with his knee during Chelsea's match at Reading in October. Cech suffered a fractured skull. Mourinho also criticised Reading and the local ambulance service for the speed of Cech's treatment.