Mourinho behaviour 'was not acceptable'

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The Independent Football

The fourth official at the Carling Cup final, Phil Crossley, has defended his decision to dismiss Jose Mourinho from the dug-out. The Chelsea manager was asked to leave the pitchside after raising a finger to his lips when Steven Gerrard's late own-goal equaliser helped Chelsea to go on and secure victory in extra time.

The fourth official at the Carling Cup final, Phil Crossley, has defended his decision to dismiss Jose Mourinho from the dug-out. The Chelsea manager was asked to leave the pitchside after raising a finger to his lips when Steven Gerrard's late own-goal equaliser helped Chelsea to go on and secure victory in extra time.

Mourinho apologised but insisted his gesture was aimed at media critics, who were on the other side of the stadium, rather than the thousands of Liverpool fans sitting just behind him.

However, Crossley said: "Once he had vacated the technical area I went to retrieve him and by the time I'd got hold of him I felt he had incited supporters there. Liverpool fans were upset. It is in my jurisdiction to ensure Mr Mourinho keeps strictly in the technical area, but he went 10 or 15 metres down the line. That's not acceptable behaviour. Whatever his gestures meant, it could have been misconstrued and the reaction of the Liverpool fans proved that. I felt it was a public order issue."

Crossley said Mourinho took his dismissal with good grace, however. "He seemed to think he was only being asked to ensure that he conducted himself properly and went to sit down. But I told him 'I'm sorry, you have to vacate the area'. I didn't have any problem with him after that. He accepted it gracefully and there was no animosity."

Chelsea are likely to escape with a warning after an investigation by Uefa, European football's governing body, into controversies at last week's Champions' League defeat in Barcelona. Uefa has requested an explanation for Mourinho's failure to attend a mandatory press conference and his team's late return for the second half. But as both are administrative offences, Uefa is not anticipating serious sanctions.

Chelsea have until 14 March to respond and could be warned as to their future conduct - and receive a small fine.

Despite their criticisms of the referee, Anders Frisk, Chelsea have yet to submit their report to Uefa and substantiate claims of a half-time meeting between the official and the Barcelona manager, Frank Rijkaard.

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