Bryan Robson has ridiculed the decision to send Manchester United manager José Mourinho to the stands on Saturday afternoon in the Reds’ 1-0 victory at Southampton.
Mourinho was sent off by referee Craig Pawson for accidentally stepping onto the field of play very late on in the game as he instructed his players.
Robson, who himself was a manager previously at Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion, laughed off the decision as “an absolute joke”.
Speaking to ManUtd.com, Robson said he would “be amazed if he gets a ban or a fine for that. I think the officials went way overboard by sending him to the stand.”
Robson compared the treatment of Mourinho to other high-profile managers in the Premier League.
“I don’t know what the officials are thinking about. Throughout the last year or so, I’ve seen managers like [Jürgen] Klopp and [Antonio] Conte run about like lunatics, out of their box, down the side of the pitch and not a thing has been made of it – it’s called passion for the team.
“But because Mourinho stepped just over the touchline, they sent him to the stands. It’ll be a disgrace if he gets fined or banned and made to watch games from the stands over the coming weeks.”
Robson is echoing the thoughts of many United fans in comparing Mourinho to others. The Portuguese has a bad reputation, and perhaps rightly so given some of his past actions, but is often punished for actions of a far smaller nature than other managers’ unpunished actions.
“In the heat of the game, you can stray outside your technical area – everybody does,” Robson said.
“In that situation, when you’re 1-0 up in injury time, who’s going to be looking at the white line? As a manager, you’re looking at the game and trying to get information to your players.”
The referee and fourth official made the most of a minor situation, and it would be a massive shock if Mourinho is fined or banned for stepping over a white line momentarily.
If he’s not, then the incident can pass with little note given how late the Portuguese was dismissed in the game.