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Inter Milan’s colourful coach Jose Mourinho has hit the headlines again for a foul mouthed rant at an Italian journalist, the latest in a number of spats with the soccer-obsessed media here.
The Portuguese has admitted using offensive language, said he made a mistake, but has not publically apologised. He also said there was no physical contact during the incident outside the team bus following Inter’s 1-1 draw at Atalanta on Sunday.
Mourinho, who has lamented the grilling he gets from Italian media so much that reports have speculated he could quit in May, said he snapped because the journalist had been standing by the team bus for months despite his protests.
On the pitch things have been up and down too with Mourinho suspended from the dugout on Sunday after being dismissed for sarcastically applauding the referee in a 2-1 defeat at Juventus earlier this month. He has promised not to get sent off again soon.
Sir Alex Ferguson wrote off Chelsea’s title hopes in the middle of last week and what the Scot was charitably calling a two-horse race was down to one on Sunday, as Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Manchester City.
Strange things happen in football — look to the Spanish League, where Real Madrid suddenly look like giving Barcelona a run for their money – but surely nothing will stop Manchester United now.
Rafa Benitez was on the attack ahead of Liverpool’s game against Stoke City but then decided to leave Robbie Keane and Fernando Torres on the bench.
The game ended in a goalless draw and on Sunday Manchester United put three past Chelsea to close the gap at the top.
It’s been a great week for Alex Ferguson (as long as you ignore the League Cup).
You couldn’t pick up a British newspaper over the weekend without reading the dreaded phrase “mind games”, after Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez made his carefully prepared “outburst” about his opposite number at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho will clash with old foe Alex Ferguson in the Champions League last 16 with holders Manchester United playing Inter Milan.
It is England v Italy twice more with Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri facing former club Chelsea while Arsenal and Roma, two teams who love to play the beautiful game, also meet.
In my mind, the rumour about Inter boss Jose Mourinho one day replacing Alex Ferguson at Man United is 2+2 = 4.5…ie. closer to the truth than the usual tittle-tattle but without concrete foundations.
The idea, which has been around ever since he left Chelsea, was given fresh impetus by Mourinho himself last week when he said he would like to return to England once he is finished at the San Siro.
With the top four never changing, it is almost more entertaining following the Premier League when there are no matches taking place. So it proved this week, from the takeover and mega-spending at Manchester City to the Kevin Keegan saga at Newcastle and Alan Curbishley’s exit from West Ham.
Curbishley claimed that his position had been undermined by the men in suits selling players without his approval and that is the underlying sub-plot that links all three acts in this week’s Premier League soap opera.
Carlos Queiroz’s departure from United to take over from Scolari as Portugal coach means that Chelsea have inadvertently inflicted an early blow on their Old Trafford rivals ahead of the new season.
There have been a lot of stories lately about Avram Grant, and how he needs to prove his worth as a coach by seeing Chelsea to victory in the Champions League final on Wednesday (See Richard Williams in the Guardian for a flavour).
But Grant is far from the only one who goes into this final with something to prove or who is desperate to make amends for past disappointments.
Sir Alex Ferguson says Manchester United will go bouncing into the Champions League final after they secured the Premier League title with a 2-0 win over Wigan on Sunday.
Ferguson, understandably feeling pretty pleased, also more or less ruled out retiring even if United go on to celebrate a double with victory over Chelsea in Moscow later this month.