Jose Mourinho won his first trophy in England yesterday with a 3-2 victory over Liverpool in the Carling Cup final, but the Chelsea coach still managed to claim centre stage from his players when he was banished to the tunnel by police.
The Portuguese coach pressed his fingers to his lips in front of the Liverpool fans in a silencing gesture when Chelsea equalised in the 79th minute through a Steven Gerrard own goal and was told by police that he had to watch the rest of the game from a back room.
However, Mourinho reacted furiously and claimed that the gesture was intended to tell the English media not to criticise his team, and was not aimed at the Liverpool fans behind his dug-out. He was not officially sent off by the referee, Steve Bennett, but was told by the police that he was being moved for provoking the Liverpool supporters.
In remarkable scenes, Mourinho was bundled down the tunnel by the fourth official, Phil Crossley, and refereeing official, Jim Ashworth, and was forced to watch the match on Sky Sports in a back room. As the game went to extra time he was unable to give a team talk to his players.
The own goal by the Liverpool captain came 11 minutes from time and shattered his side's hopes of holding out after they had taken the lead through John Arne Riise's goal after just 45 seconds. In an absorbing final, Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman scored the goals for Chelsea which, despite Antonio Nunez's late header, secured the first trophy of Roman Abramovich's era.
However, Mourinho stole the show again. At the end of the game, he insisted on shaking the hand of Gerrard, whom Chelsea were days away from signing for £35m this summer, and appeared to wave at the Liverpool fans. He was only persuaded to come out and accept his medal by Drogba after being told he would have to be accompanied by a Football League solicitor.
Mourinho had been sent down the tunnel on the advice of police after pressing his fingers to his lips when Chelsea equalised on 79 minutes. The Portuguese coach argued that he made the gesture to tell the English press to "put their pens in their pockets" and had simply misunderstood the customs of his new country.
Of his banishmenthe said: "I have a lot respect for all football fans and that includes Liverpool fans. I have tried to show this and I also have to adapt to your culture. It's the country I live and work in. For me it is unusual to be sent off by the police, not the referee or the fourth official. The policeman said 'Mr Mourinho has to get out'. This was a special situation for me."
He added: "The policeman is not a football man. They are there to control the crowd. If I made a mistake then I apologise. I am happy that I am not going to jail and that I can enjoy the cup with my players."
With Liverpool fans having to be restrained from getting at the Chelsea coach that sounded disingenuous. However, Mourinho came closest to losing his temper seriously when he was asked by a reporter why, when he came back on to the pitch, he waved at the same section of Liverpool fans to whom he had made the hushing gesture.
Almost rising to his feet in fury to confront the reporter, and with a level of anger he has yet to have shown in this country, Mourinho was close to losing his cool for the first time in England. This was the first glimpse of another side to the normally calm Portuguese coach who, during his time in Porto, once tore up the shirt of a Sporting Lisbon player after a match.
Mourinho said: "I was waving to my wife. It was my wife who was there in the front row. Before the game you didn't see me sending kisses to my wife. Be careful what you say I think you can be a bad boy. I have to adapt to English football and you have to adapt to me if not we will have a fight. I was asked last week if I wanted to be loved by English football or if I want to win trophies. I want to win trophies; I don't want to be loved by you."
Mourinho was banned from the extra-time team talk and was understood to have sent messages to his players via the club's director of communications, Simon Greenberg, who spoke to certain players on the pitch. The referee, Steve Bennett, will include Mourinho's ejection in his match report and the matter will be considered by the Football Association.
Mourinho also denied that there was any significance, with respect to the future, to his shaking Gerrard's hand, although the Liverpool captain looked uncomfortable with the situation.
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