Jose Mourinho plays down touchline melee after ‘awful’ Chelsea draw

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho reacts to Chelsea assistant coach Marco Ianni after Chelsea's second goal at Stamford Bridge. (Reuters)
Updated 20 October 2018
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Jose Mourinho plays down touchline melee after ‘awful’ Chelsea draw

  • Mourinho took exception to the celebrations of one of Chelsea’s backroom staff, Marco Ianni
  • Ross Barkley scored in the sixth minute of injury time to level the match at 2-2

LONDON: Jose Mourinho played down an ugly touchline melee after watching his Manchester United side concede a heartbreaking late equalizer as Chelsea preserved their unbeaten Premier League record on Saturday.
Ross Barkley scored in the sixth minute of injury time to level the match at 2-2 after Anthony Martial had scored twice in the second half to cancel out Antonio Rudiger’s opener.
Mourinho took exception to the celebrations of one of Chelsea’s backroom staff, Marco Ianni, who ran in front of the Portuguese on the touchline, as he seemed set for a sweet victory over his old club.
When asked about the incident, former Chelsea boss Mourinho said: “Oh come on, I can tell you that 97 minutes of the game was so good that you have to focus on that.
“I did not get respect back from Chelsea (fans) but that is not my responsibility. What I did here today I will do in Madrid, in Milan, in Porto, the reaction from the fans is not up to me.
“I am not annoyed with anything. What happened with (Maurizio) Sarri’s assistant, Sarri was the first one to come to me and say he will resolve it.
“The assistant has already come to me and apologized, I told him to forget it. I have made a lot of mistakes in my career.”
Mourinho, who won three Premier League titles in two spells at Chelsea, said United were the better side.
“We were the best team on the pitch. If you say before the game that one point at Stamford Bridge is a good result, it is so difficult to win here but after the game with the way the game was it is an awful result for us and a phenomenal result for them.
“We were in the game, we controlled their triggers, (Eden) Hazard and Jorginho was well controlled.
“After we were 2-1 up we had possibilities to score the third goal, we were the best team, we were calm in control.
“I hope every referee does the same as Mike Dean and gives six minutes, I don’t know where they came from. We always tried to play, there was no time-wasting.”
The result means Chelsea go top of the table, at least temporarily, but United are still languishing in eighth spot, seven points off the pace.
Chelsea goalscorer Barkley hailed his team’s never-say-die attitude.
“My confidence has grown but our target was to win the game so it is disappointing,” he said.
“The manager told me to help the team win the game and try and get a result. We conceded a goal that we should have stopped but we came back.”


‘No surprises’ about former Premier League duo Nordin Amrabat, Jurado flying high in Saudi Arabia

Updated 13 November 2018
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‘No surprises’ about former Premier League duo Nordin Amrabat, Jurado flying high in Saudi Arabia

  • Amrabat signed for big-spending Al-Nassr in the summer and has scored three goals in eight games
  • Jurado, meanwhile, joined Al-Ahli from Espanyol in the summer and his playmaking ability has resulted in the Jeddah giants succeeding

LONDON: A former Premier League coach is not surprised high-profile imports Nordin Amrabat and Jose Manuel Jurado are flourishing in the Saudi Pro League, believing they have the ability and the pedigree to inspire their clubs to mount a title challenge.
Amrabat signed for big-spending Al-Nassr in the summer and has scored three goals in eight games to propel Jose Daniel Carreno’s side up to third in the table. Jurado, meanwhile, joined Al-Ahli from Espanyol in the summer and his playmaking ability has resulted in the Jeddah giants becoming the second most prolific team in the league. Both clubs are hot on the heels of leaders Al-Hilal and are prepared to pounce should the champions slip up.
Dean Austin, the former Tottenham defender, coached both Amrabat and Jurado at Premier League club Watford and has kept a keen eye on their fortunes.
“I’ve followed their careers closely since I worked with them and I saw they had moved to Saudi Arabia,” Austin told Arab News. “I fully expected them to make a big impact as they are very good players and top professionals. It sounds like they are really enjoying themselves and good luck to them as they both work so hard.”
Amrabat, 31, became Al-Nassr’s fourth costliest player ever when he joined from Watford for £7.65m ($10.05m). According to Austin, he is capable of playing on either flank and has experience of playing in Holland, in La Liga and the Premier League.
Amrabat has said in previous interviews he feels he plays his best football on the left flank, where he can cut in on his favored right foot and have a crack at goal. He is playing on the left in a 4-1-4-1 formation at Al-Nassr.
“I felt he was good enough to play off either flank, but I guess the left might have been his preference,” said Austin. “If he is going to play there, I think you need a really quick, offensive left-back who is prepared to go past him and go on the outside. You need to have the correct balance in the team.”
Moroccan Amrabat was in many pundits’ team of the World Cup at the end of the group stages. His displays helped his team to a 2-2 draw with Spain and saw them narrowly lose out to Portugal.
“He had a good World Cup and I reckon there would have been a few clubs looking at him. He has pace, strength, a great desire and is a really willing worker. He wants to work,” Austin said.
Amrabat played in the same Watford side as Jurado in 2016 and they were reunited when Al-Ahli beat Al-Nassr 2-0 in Riyadh earlier this month. Jurado was taken to Watford and then to Espanyol by Quique Sanchez Flores, the coach who was offered the chance to take the top job at Al-Hilal earlier this year.
Sanchez Flores never made it to the Kingdom, but Jurado, 32, did and he is showing why he played at Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Schalke.
“He is a really good technician,” said Austin. “He is silky smooth and can pass off either foot. From the first day at Watford, you could tell he was seriously talented. He’s clever and a very talented footballer.”
Jurado did not pull up as many trees in the Premier League as Watford hoped and he lasted just one season before returning to Spain.
“He had an indifferent time with us,” said Austin. “He had some good games, but he found it tough in some others. He came to us from Russia and it was not easy to adapt. He found it very quick, but the Premier League is a very difficult league and he probably didn’t show us as much as he would have liked. Sometimes with Jose, it’s about trying to find the right balance of the team to have him in it.”
Al-Ahli coach Pablo Guede is fielding Jurado in a left-sided role just behind Djaniny, the big-money summer signing from Mexico, or as a No. 10 behind Djaniny and the prolific Omar Al-Somah.
Jurado scored his first goal in the 2-0 win over Al-Faisaly and pulled the strings in the 5-1 rout of Al-Fateh, claiming two assists. Jurado has played alongside Raul, won the Europa League and finished runner-up in La Liga twice, but Austin says the playmaker is “as humble as they come.”