Bit­ter ri­vals at each other again af­ter FA Cup clash

New Straits Times - - Sport -

of kicks. I don’t think I’m crazy.

“He started the match re­ceiv­ing kicks and he fin­ished it re­ceiv­ing kicks.

“This is the truth and I don’t think one per­son can say this didn’t hap­pen. It’s not foot­ball for me.

“It could be United’s tac­tic. Some­times when you play against play­ers with great tal­ent you try to in­tim­i­date them.

“The ref­eree must try to pro­tect these type of play­ers be­cause they can go out with a bad in­jury.”

It was a chas­ten­ing re­turn to west Lon­don for for­mer Chelsea boss Mour­inho, who en­dured his old club’s fans call­ing him “Ju­das” and chant­ing “you’re not spe­cial any­more.”

Mour­inho re­sponded to the jibes by hold­ing up three fin­gers to the crowd to re­mind them how many Premier League ti­tles he won in his two spells with Chelsea.

And, de­ter­mined to have the last word, Mour­inho, sacked by the Blues last sea­son, took the op­por­tu­nity to re­mind Conte and Chelsea’s sup­port­ers that they have a long way to go to match his achieve­ments at the Bridge.

“They can call me what they want. I’m a pro­fes­sional,” he said.

“I feel re­spon­si­bil­i­ties on Chelsea’s bad Premier League last sea­son, but when I left we were in the Cham­pi­ons League, win­ning the Cham­pi­ons League group. French in­ter­na­tional team-mate Pogba.

The Times player rat­ings awarded Kante 9/10 while Pogba re­ceived just four.

The pa­per opined of Kante: “buzzed around Pogba when United had the ball....” whilst for Pogba it la­belled his per­for­mance as “Ef­fec­tively sti­fled by Kante and failed to pick him up for the goal. Showed lit­tle in­ci­sion and wasted his only

“Now they don’t play in Europe. It’s not my fault.

“Un­til the mo­ment they have a man­ager that wins four Premier Leagues, I am num­ber one.

“If a man­ager wins four I be­come num­ber two. Un­til then, Ju­das is num­ber one.”

Al­though Conte and Mour­inho didn’t shake hands at full-time, the Ital­ian in­sisted he had done noth­ing wrong in their touch­line clash.

“It was hard work for the fourth of­fi­cial but I con­trolled my emo­tion very well to­day,” Conte said.

“It’s nor­mal for the man­ager to push his play­ers. What hap­pens out­side the pitch is just a cir­cus.”

Conte saluted Hazard for re­fus­ing to be in­tim­i­dated by United’s good chance.”

Pogba, for whom the crit­i­cism of his per­for­mances have be­come stronger in re­cent games, has only been sub­sti­tuted in just one of his 38 ap­pear­ances this term.

Per­haps the only per­son to dis­agree with the as­sess­ment of the per­for­mances of the two play­ers was United man­ager Jose Mour­inho.

“The play­ers were phe­nom­e­nal bul­ly­ing as N’Golo Kante’s su­perb sec­ond-half win­ner gave the Premier League lead­ers a Wem­b­ley semi-fi­nal show­down with Lon­don ri­vals Tot­ten­ham next month.

“For sure, he showed strong char­ac­ter. Af­ter the first 25 min­utes, ev­ery player would have a fear of be­ing kicked. It’s very dan­ger­ous to re­ceive a kick from the back,” he said.

Inevitably, Mour­inho re­fused to ac­cept blame for his team’s ap­proach and turned the fo­cus on ref­eree Michael Oliver’s de­ci­sion to send off Her­rera for what was one of the less vi­cious tack­les on Hazard.

“Her­rera’s sec­ond yel­low card, com­pare that with (Mar­cus) Rash­ford go­ing to at­tack the ball in a counter-at­tack­ing sit­u­a­tion. He was fouled and the ref­eree doesn’t give a book­ing,” Mour­inho said.

“We all saw the game. We can all agree there was one match un­til Her­rera saw the red card and an­other af­ter that.” AFP but I would re­fer to one be­cause he’s the one that the spe­cial­ists en­joy to go af­ter,” Mour­inho told MUTV.

“Prob­a­bly be­cause in that time they were not get­ting 10 per­cent of the money he was get­ting.

“It prob­a­bly comes from envy but I have to say, that for me Paul Pogba was by far the best player on the pitch.

“He was a gi­ant.” AFP

Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante (left) and Manch­ester United’s Paul Pogba dur­ing their FA Cup quar­ter-fi­nal match at Stam­ford Bridge on Mon­day.

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