The UEFA Super Cup is considered one of the lesser trophies on offer to Chelsea this season, but someone clearly didn’t mention this to Jose Mourinho. Following their penalty shootout defeat to arch rival Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich last Friday, Mourinho exploded into full-scale rant mode at the injustice of the whole evening.
Was there any justification for the Premier League manager’s ridiculous accusations towards Europe’s footballing governing body?
Bemoaning the awarding of a second yellow to Ramires, whilst also lambasting the all round performance of officials on the night, Mourinho put it down to a general conspiracy against his teams in Europe. The following comments were reported in the Guardian:
“I have a fantastic experience of playing with 10 men in Uefa matches,” he said. “I have a great experience. So I could react. I could coach my players in a way where, even with 10 men, even very, very tired, they could compete and find an opportunity to score a goal. “
“If you are in love with football, you don’t kill a final with a second yellow card like this. You don’t kill the final. “
“A good English referee would have stopped the game and told Ramires: ‘Look, you’ve not hurt anyone but you mustn’t do that again.’ Or tell the Bayern players: ‘Don’t dive. Don’t try and provoke. Play a fair game.’ If you ask me in pure terms, rule by rule, yes it was a second yellow card. But you don’t do this every action in that way. But it’s nothing new for me.
“I played two or three times with 10 men against Barça. I went to Inter and played a Champions League semi-final, one hour, with 10 men against Barcelona. I go to Real Madrid, I played again a Champions League semi-final with 10 men.
“Now I come back to Chelsea and played a Super Cup final with 10 men again, and go to analyse the actions and make your conclusions. I’m unlucky. Just that.”
“I’m disappointed because, in my opinion – and I can’t be punished for having an opinion – the best team lost,”
It is often easiest to take Mourinho’s comments with a pinch of salt and put them down to mind games, but his post-match press conference just bordered on the bizarre.
The best team lost? Whilst I would agree this was an impressively gritty display from Chelsea, they were outplayed and outclassed for the majority of the game by their German counterparts. Possession exceeding 60% and a shot count well into the mid 30’s emphasised Chelsea’s will to sit back and soak up Bayern’s constant forays.
What is hilarious though is his insistence that English referees would have not allowed these injustices to pass, these are of course the same referees he vilifies for not offering enough protection to his players on a weekly basis. The inconsistencies of a raving Mourinho are profound. Mourinho should know as well as anyone that continental referees offer much less leeway than their English counterparts, it is just reality of the situation. That being said Ramires would likely have been dismissed regardless of where the referees were from.
Was Mourinho just venting frustrations at Guardiola getting one over on him?
This is probably closer to the truth. Mourinho’s sides have typically taken the more combative approach to big games and this naturally results in wider punishment from matchday officials. Of course there have been refereeing gaffes down the years, but nothing to suggest there is any conspiracy against him. Take last year when Manchester United were on the wrong end of a controversial decision against a Mourinho side, human error happens and just has to be accepted.
Mourinho needs to look more closely at the way his sides play, rather than a perceived victimisation. If you are going to drop deep and soak up heavy pressure you are always running the risk of conceding fouls. In the main Chelsea defended admirably on Friday night, but it only takes a couple of mistakes to end up with a dismissal like Ramires had. When the onus is on defence the chances of this occurring are only heightened.
I don’t think we can read much into Mourinho’s accusations. He was clearly a frustrated man on Friday night after missing out on continental silverware to a fierce rival, something which we can perhaps sympathise with.
His bitter ramblings should be taken to be nothing more than that.
Was Mourinho’s conspiracy rant simply reactionary garbage or is there something more here?