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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 March, 2005, 15:07 GMT
Almunia slams 'arrogant' Mourinho
Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia
Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has branded Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho arrogant for his gesture during the Carling Cup victory over Liverpool.

Mourinho put a finger to his lips after Steven Gerrard's own-goal leveller for the Blues but rather than inciting Reds fans he said it was aimed at the press.

And Almunia told Catalan newspaper El Mundo Deportivo: "He acted arrogantly.

"It is clear that Mourinho believes he is superior to the rest and that his success has gone to his head."

Almunia also believes that Chelsea will struggle to overcome Champions League opponents Barcelona in the second leg of their last 16 tie at Stamford Bridge next Tuesday.

Barca hold a 2-1 lead from last week's first leg and Almunia added: "They (Barcelona) are going to have problems in the return against Chelsea but I have confidence in them as they have done well this season."

Meanwhile, the Spanish stopper has also defended national coach Luis Aragones who was fined 2,060 by the Spanish FA for racist comments he made about Thierry Henry to Jose Antonio Reyes in a training session.

Almunia said: "This has all gone too far and on top of everything we all know Luis Aragones.

"He is a strong personality that only tries to motivate his players, but a racist? Never. I do not understand this."




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