Jose Mourinho hasn’t had too many people defend him of late, but former United right-back Gary Neville has said that his angry reaction late on in the draw with Chelsea was simply down to emotion and should be expected in a game of such magnitude.
Chelsea had taken the lead through an Antonio Rudiger header in what was a disappointing first-half from Manchester United, but Mourinho’s men got their noses in front thanks to a fine Anthony Martial double in the second period.
However, Chelsea would snatch a point in the 96th minute when Ross Barkley reacted quickest to a David de Gea save to smash the ball into the back of the net to spark wild scenes at Stamford Bridge.
One of the wildest reactions came from Chelsea staff member Marco Ianni, who raced down the touchline and celebrated wildly in front of former Blues boss Mourinho, who reacted angrily at the perceived provocation and tried to chase him down the tunnel.
While the scenes initially looked chaotic and unsavoury, Gary Neville has leapt to the defence of the United boss and his reaction, saying it is all part of the emotion of the game:
“For me, over-enthusiastic celebrations are a part of the game, but I also think that if you’re on the end of it, you should be able to react,” Neville said on the Gary Neville Podcast.
“We can sit here and say it’s ridiculous that these managers react, but what you saw at the end was raw emotion.
“I could sit here with a halo above my head and say ‘it’s terrible for the people to see at home, it’s not what we want to see representing the game’ or I could actually say ‘I’ve been there, I’ve done it, I’ve been on the receiving end of it.’ You cannot control your emotions and that’s why we love this game because we want to see moments like that.
“For me, Jose Mourinho’s reaction was something I would expect and also something I would expect from the Chelsea bench. It was a big moment for the Chelsea team, fans and staff so they’re entitled to over celebrate, you always do with a last minute goal.
“Jose Mourinho actually came onto the scene at Old Trafford sliding down the touchline. My view is I would like to see it more if it was my team celebrating, but I love to see that emotion in football where you see people just lose it – not in a violent way – but in an emotional way.”