United boss gives Juve fans an earful
After listening to taunts from the Juventus crowd for 90 minutes, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho couldn’t help but pay them back in kind.
Mourinho had to be escorted off the pitch yesterday after celebrating his side’s 2-1 comeback win over the Italian side in the Champions League by cupping his hand to his ear to the crowd after the final whistle.
The gesture sparked a small altercation with Juventus players that overshadowed one of the most important results of the season for United, which has struggled domestically but now has a great chance of reaching the knockout stage in Europe.
‘‘I came here to do my job and I was insulted for 90 minutes,’’ Mourinho said. ‘‘I wouldn’t do that gesture again but I don’t think I offended anyone and at the time it seemed like the appropriate response to those who had insulted all my family, apart from my Inter one too.’’
Mourinho is unpopular among Juventus fans after managing bitter rival Inter Milan for three years. After United’s 1-0 loss to Juventus at home two weeks ago, he responded to the goading of the Italian fans by holding up three fingers toward them, denoting the treble of titles – Champions League, Serie A and Italian Cup – he won with Inter in the 2009-10 season.
This time he had another win to celebrate, after watching his team fight back from Cristiano Ronaldo’s spectacular opening goal.
Juan Mata levelled with a free kick four minutes from time and Alex Sandro netted an own goal in the final minute as United blew their Champions League group wide open.
Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci angrily approached Mourinho as he cupped his ear at the Bianconeri fans and the United coach was escorted off the pitch by a Uefa official and some members of his staff.
In other matches, United’s crosstown rivals Manchester City enjoyed a 6-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in a match featuring a bizarre penalty awarded to City after England winger Raheem Sterling fell over after stubbing his toe in the turf.
‘‘I just kicked the floor by accident,’’ Sterling said. ‘‘I didn’t mean to fall over, it was an absolute shambles from my behalf.’’
Other winners yesterday were Roma, Valencia, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho cups a hand to his ear in a gesture to Juventus fans after United’s dramatic 2-1 win.