BBC Sport
Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Thursday, 23 February 2006, 14:44 GMT
Mourinho in a mess

By Jonathan Stevenson
BBC Sport at Stamford Bridge

Does Jose Mourinho believe it is impossible for Chelsea to lose without it being down to a mistake from an official or an act of cheating?

Barcelona's Lionel Messi is fouled by Chelsea's Asier del Horno
Del Horno kicks Messi into the air...

A year after criticising referee Anders Frisk's display in the 2-1 Champions League defeat in Barcelona, Mourinho is at it again.

This time, the Portuguese finger of fate is pointing squarely in the direction of Barcelona's teenage sensation Lionel Messi.

The Argentine was the victim of two rash challenges from Asier del Horno, the second of which prompted a straight red card from referee Terje Hauge.

True, it probably should have been a yellow card, but Del Horno was very lucky to escape a caution for an earlier knee-high tackle on Messi.

Sure, Messi was cute enough to make the most of Del Horno's recklessness with a few well-timed rolls in front of the officials, but the damage was already done.

Not so, says the special one: "How do you say cheating in Catalan?"

Classic Mourinho. But this time, the Portuguese should be embarrassed by his comments. After all, what goes around, more often than not comes around.

It is only 17 days since English football widely condemned Blues winger Arjen Robben for theatrically diving to get Liverpool keeper Jose Reina sent off in a key Premiership encounter.

There is little doubt that Robben's acting was greater than Messi's, yet Mourinho accused Reds boss Rafael Benitez of sour grapes for bringing up the incident in his post-match analysis.

Maybe, in the cold light of day, Mourinho will be able to reflect on a courageous performance from his players instead of deflect attention on to an 18-year-old.

It is certainly a display that gives Chelsea plenty of hope for the second leg in Spain.

Few teams would still be in the contest after playing for over 50 minutes with 10 men against a wonderfully talented Barca side - let alone have the temerity to take the lead while a man down.

Referee Terje Hauge shows Aiser del Horno a straight red card
...and is sent off by Terje Hauge

Perhaps Mourinho's frustration is because he can see the Champions League slipping away for the second time in a row.

Last year, he had the assistant referee to blame for allowing Liverpool's goal to stand when Chelsea claimed it had not crossed the line.

This year, he has cast Messi as the villain of the piece and the architect of their downfall should Chelsea fail to overturn their deficit in Spain.

But there are so many positive aspects of Chelsea's performance at Stamford Bridge for Mourinho to believe his team can still go through.

They created a host of good chances with 10 men - including a gilt-edged one for Didier Drogba with the score at 1-1 - and until the last 20 minutes matched their illustrious opponents in every department.

So why does there always have to be an excuse for losing a game like that?

It is a shame that the culture in football deems it a necessary rather than an occasional after-match reaction.

Are the stakes too high and the rewards too great for managers to be gracious in defeat anymore?

After the pre-match pantomine surrounding that awful pitch, it is a pity that, once again, people are talking about events outside the game.

They should be disecting another wonderful game of football between two of the best teams in the world.

We asked YOU for your comments about the game and this article. Thank-you for all your responses, here is a selection of your views.

I think that your criticism of Mourihno's reaction to Messi's theatrical acting is harsh. If you were at Stamford Bridge, you should have probably seen that Messi first looked up at who was looking and started with rolling on the floor.
CFC Mighty Blues, Austria

I was there. Del Horno should have gone off with the first foul never mind the second. Hats off to Chelsea for a making such a great effort with 10 men, if they play like that with 11 in the Nou Camp then we are in for a hell of a second leg.
George Christou, London

Was Jonathan Stevenson watching a different game? Robben was the architect of the incident between Del Horno and Messi and Robben got away with it. If you watch the replay carefully you will see Robben try to remove Messi's legs as he tricked him near the corner flag - that was just after shoulder barging him as he ran down the line! Robben needs to take a rain check, on how he conducts himself on the pitch.
Alan, Isle of Man

The losing one is now playing the crying game when cheating failed. Now, he is one step behind and will have to change his credit card for a debit card.
Mike McGrath, Florida, USA

Chelsea are a great team...sadly they are not the greatest team in Europe. Mourinho should learn to accept that and concentrate on improving the area of the team that is lacking...the forwards!
Mark Saxby, Dorset

There was a two-footed tackle on Robben in the second-half. This went totally unpunished by the Norwegian referee, there appears to be no consistency by the officials.
David Lewis, Essex

Mourinho needs to accept the fact that Barcelona on the day were just too skilful and mobile for his side. When his team lost at Stamford Bridge last year despite all that had been said in the first leg, Barca boss Frank Rijkaard was still gracious in defeat. Mr Mourinho should learn from that. Perhaps watering the pitch to that level was not such a good idea after all, it backfired big time.
Albert Mushai, Johannesburg, South Africa

Mourinho has got double standards calling young Messi a cheat. I was in Seville watching the Uefa Cup final with Celtic when he was manager of Porto and if you look closely at that game and the theatrics of their keeper in particular, let alone the diving and time wasting, you will quickly learn that he wants to win at all costs. It was a great game and Barcelona taught them a lesson on how to play against 10 men. Ronaldinho is pure class.
Ian Crossan, Newbury

If the ref was wrong, Mourinho has every right to complain. If the ref was right, then Mourinho should stay quiet. I thought the referee was awful and the standards of referees in this competition needs looking at.
Daren Robinson, Worthing, West Sussex

I can't help thinking that Chelsea reaped what they have sown. Although the referee was poor, it was clear that Del Horno could not cope with Messi, and in my view he made no attempt to play the ball but jumped straight into the man. And if you want to talk about theatrics, Del Horno's sudden heart attack and eye rolling was pathetic. Do they have special lessons on amateur dramatics and diving at Chelsea?
Barry Hamilton, Romford, Essex

I don't know what Catalan for "cheating" is, but I'd be interested to discover the Portuguese for "hypocrite". I presume I'd have to ask someone other than Mr Mourinho.
Rhodri Evans, Nottingham

I am a Chelsea season ticket holder and a great admirer of Mourinho. However, l'm getting more than a little embarrassed at some of his comments. We do expect a more professional reaction from the coach and mentor of our team. Likewise, his comments about stating the day on which we are going to win the Premiership was also foolhardy and should be left for us pundits in the pub. Most of Jose's quotes are both amusing and headline grabbing, tinged with a good deal of wisdom. He should leave the sour grapes to the paying fans.
David Bantick, Buntingford, Herts.

I thought it was a straight red for two reasons: 1) because Del Horno lauched a nasty tackle minutes before and (2) he not only threw himself at Messi he also had his foot too high.
Jurelmo, Manchester

Pot Kettle Black is all I'm saying Mr Mourinho. Forgotten what Robben did against Liverpool have we...
Joshua, London

It really is getting to the point of boring and pathetic. The triumverate of Wenger, Ferguson and Mourinho, blaming everyone and everything except there own team's inability to win, There's no good grace and no sportmanship. The stakes have got so high financially that the managers are under too much pressure to lose.
Steve Plucknett, Fremantle W.Australia

Chelsea 1-2 Barcelona
22 Feb 06 |  Europe
Acting the fool
23 Feb 06 |  Fun and Games


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs


Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport