JÜRGEN Klopp seemed puzzled by comments made by Jose Mourinho in the aftermath of Manchester United’s goalless draw with Hull City this week — and he wasn’t the only one.
Rather than going into detail about how well Marco Silva’s side had executed their Old Trafford gameplan or how his side had failed to break down the team currently sat second from bottom of the Premier League, the serial cry-arser instead chose to moan about the officials and how he is apparently treated differently to other managers.
Mourinho was of course referring to Klopp’s celebration of Simon Mignolet’s penalty save in the Reds’ 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Tuesday night, despite the fact that the German wasn’t directing any personal abuse of any kind towards fourth official Neil Swarbrick — and he apologised for his actions in the immediate aftermath of his outburst.
The United boss whinged: “You know clearly I am different. The rules for me are different.
“Yesterday a fourth official told a manager: ‘I enjoy very much your passion’. Today I am told to sit down or I am going to be sent to the stand.”
That’s Mourinho getting a cob on with the fact he wasn’t allowed to repeatedly direct his frustrations towards the referee’s assistant as his side struggled to get the better of Hull, believing in his own mind that it wasn’t the first time decisions had gone against his side this campaign.
As the cliche goes, these things tend to even out over the course of a season. So, given United have been allowed several goals that shouldn’t have stood due to missed offside calls, perhaps Mourinho was correct in feeling his side weren’t getting their fair share on Wednesday night. Wonder what he thought of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s blatant dive inside the area, though?
The fact he singled out Klopp as his example of favourable treatment from referees is ironic considering the offside decision given in United’s favour in the build up to their equaliser in the draw with Liverpool just a few weeks ago.
But is this Mourinho taking issue with Klopp specifically? Or is it another case of a manager bent out of shape by the Reds’ favouring of Rafa Benitez for the vacant manager’s job back in 2004.
Any resentment from that Liverpool snub would have only been intensified by the new ‘rivalry’ that emerged between Liverpool and Chelsea during his first spell in charge. Mourinho shushed the Liverpool fans in the 2005 League Cup final and was of course on the wrong side of the infamous ‘ghost goal’ later that season.
More recently, the Portuguese manager wildly celebrated Chelsea’s second goal in the game which all but put an end to Liverpool’s title hopes back in 2014, despite the fact his side had fallen away themselves prior to that game.
This latest incident is another example of how matters along the East Lancs Road are seemingly always in the back of Mourinho’s mind. He clearly enjoys getting under the skin of Liverpool fans.
Klopp was having none of it though, despite admitting that sometimes it’s tough to keep a lid on things as a manager on the touchline.
He said in his press conference today: “I think it depends on the fourth official. We all know what we can do.
“When I saw the picture afterwards it didn’t look too nice but it was not as bad as it looked, so that is why I said what happened.
“Maybe I was lucky with what the fourth official said because I’ve never heard something like this before. There are different ways to handle the situation.
“It is quite an emotional game and to switch off emotions is not that simple.
“We struggle — not only myself and Jose but Arsene Wenger (currently serving a four-game touchline ban for pushing a fourth official) and a lot of other people struggle.
“We are all different; sometimes we get a fine, sometimes not. It’s not what we want to do nor is it a tactic.
“It was worse with me when I was younger. I have already improved but I had no idea why he spoke about me.”
Maybe Mourinho does have a point, but it can only be his own fault that his reputation precedes him — having twice served suspensions this campaign and incurring a stadium ban last season for similar incidents.
It’s clear that while he boasts an impressive CV and record as a manager, he doesn’t boast many desirable personal qualities.
Perhaps he should be taking a look at how he conducts himself before looking at how others go about their business.