Jose Mourinho profusely apologised to Crystal Palace fans after accidentally kicking a water bottle in frustration, noting later that it was empty.
The 55-year-old cut an animated, contemplative figure on the touchline as Manchester United fought back from two goals to win the game in added time, falling over at one point and even pushing assistant Rui Faria in a kind of frenzy.
And having kicked a water bottle further than he intended, he immediately apologised to the Palace fans who saw the bottle fly in their direction.
Mourinho’s reaction to kicking a water bottle ???????????? Ban incoming. pic.twitter.com/nCBpmecx8w
— Scott Patterson (@R_o_M) March 5, 2018
The boss will be acutely aware of what this conduct usually yields for him: he had to serve a ban last season for kicking a bottle and was sent to the stands against Southampton for momentarily placing one foot on the pitch. Other managers in the Premier League, however, have gotten away scot free with the same offence.
And Mourinho, who won’t – or at least definitely shouldn’t – receive any retribution for his outburst, was quick to note after the game that the bottle was accidental, adding that the kick was fuelled by the referee and his frustration at United’s performance.
“Yes, but it was empty,” he said. “One thing with the referee and another thing is the basic frustration of the game with good fun with the people behind.”
“Maybe they like me here because I keep saying this stadium and these fans are brilliant.”
Kicking something further than first imagined is something we have all done at some point. I remember being a blissfully untroubled ten year old walking down the street one day and kicking a stone – about the size of plum – in a way that made it skid before menacingly bouncing off the ground and straight through a car window.
The difference between myself and Mourinho, however, is that I didn’t apologise, or even own up to the incident. I just ran as fast as I could, tears streaming down my face.
This wasn’t really an option for the Portuguese, who immediately displayed remorse at what was an obvious accident. You can only hope that common sense prevails and the matter isn’t taken any further.