Jose Mourinho has admitted he lost his cool and should not have reacted to the taunts of Juventus supporters whom he accused of insulting his family.
The Manchester United manager cupped his hand to his ear and snarled at the Italian fans as he milked the moment after seeing his team complete a dramatic Champions League smash-and-grab at the Allianz stadium.
Mourinho’s reaction drew criticism from former United midfielder, Paul Scholes, who accused the Portuguese of a lack of class and trying to make the win all about himself.
And Mourinho later suggested he regretted the episode but had risen to the bait after claiming the Juventus fans had denigrated his family and his former colleagues at Inter Milan, where he managed between 2008 and 2010.
“I didn’t offend anyone at the end, I just made a gesture that I wanted to hear them louder,” he said. “I probably shouldn’t have done it, and with a cool head I wouldn’t have done it, but with my family insulted, including my Inter family, I reacted like this.
“On a beautiful Italian day, I made a little thing. I know millions are happy with the win. But I respect Juventus and the quality they have. I am really proud of my boys because they did everything.”
Mourinho had also reacted to the taunts of Juventus fans at Old Trafford a fortnight earlier, when United lost 1-0, by raising three fingers to denote the treble he won with Inter in 2009/10.
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Scholes, a strident critic of Mourinho, was unimpressed by the manager’s latest antics. “This is everywhere he goes,” the BT Sport pundit said. “You need to win with a bit of class sometimes, shake the managers hand. I don’t think there’s any need for it but that’s the way he is.”
The win provides United with a dramatic boost ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby and Mourinho believes it proved his side can compete with the best. “I think we played this season against Chelsea and Juventus away, the two best teams that we faced this season and we played very well in both,” he said. “Here, we were lucky to win in the last minute, against Chelsea we were unlucky not to win in last minute.
“But we played very, very well and this is what we want, we want to play well, we want to go to every stadium, and it doesn’t matter the team, and play. Then if they are better than us they win, if they have more potential than us, they win, if we make mistakes and pay for the mistakes we lose but I want the feeling, it doesn’t matter where we go, that we go to compete and this is the feeling the Manchester United supporters around the world want to have. Switch on the television, and it doesn’t matter where we play, they know we are going to compete. We will lose matches, today we could lose, but that feeling of we go to play, we go to try to win.”
United now face Young Boys at Old Trafford before travelling to Valencia for their final Group H match with their prospects of reaching the knockout stages significantly enhanced. “We have one final to play at home against Young Boys,” he said. “If my mathematics are right then we qualify [only if Valencia don’t beat Juventus] so I think now I leave it to the Old Trafford people.”
United have arrived late for their last two Champions League home matches after their team bus got caught in traffic and Mourinho joked that he hoped they would not make it an unwanted hat-trick. “I hope we arrive on time!” he said. “We had an amazing escort here today – thank you to the Italian police. Hopefully we can get all three points.”
The game marked Paul Pogba’s first return to Turin since he left for United in a then world record £89 million move in 2016 and he thanked the Juventus fans for the warm reception they gave him. “The fans were very welcoming with me and I really appreciate that,” he said. “We played against a good team, but the three points were most important. I celebrate for the goal, it was strange, it touched a lot of people. We’ve been playing well together and until the end we’ve done very well. We had maybe an extra breath or power to push it at the end.”
Cristiano Ronaldo felt Juventus should have won comfortably. “We should’ve won the game easily,” the former United striker said. “Three, four goals. Manchester didn’t do much, in my opinion.”
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