Jose Mourinho has shed light on the exchange he had with Jurgen Klopp during the latter stages of Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool in the Premier League.
Man United, minutes after grabbing an equaliser, gave away possession in a dangerous area but Ander Herrera quickly grabbed onto the shirt of Roberto Firmino before Liverpool could break away. The Brazilian, in response, pushed Herrera to the ground and the pair both picked up yellow cards for their troubles.
The exchange led to a heated war of words and finger-wagging on the touchline between Klopp and Mourinho before the two were eventually broken up by the fourth official.
When asked whether there was a issue between the pair, Mourinho replied: “Nah. He thought I was asking for his player to be sent off, I wasn’t. No problem at all.”
“I think the game was correct, I think the players gave everything in an emotional way, professional way. I think the referee managed very well that part of the game, aggression but good. So I think the game was a great publicity for the Premier League all around the world.”
Now, aggression towards another human being is normally unjustifiable. But at the height of what was a furious, end-to-end confrontation between Liverpool and United, antagonism between the two managers does indeed make sense.
These are, after all, two men desperately passionate about their respective football clubs. If you told the pair prior to the game that, just this one time, United vs Liverpool would be decided by a cage-fight between the respective managers, they’d both jump into the ring without hesitation.
Indeed, after two years of Louis van Gaal sitting in the dugout making notes and doing quite literally nothing else, seeing such passion on the touchline is quite refreshing.