LONDON — Jose Mourinho hit back at Chelsea supporters who abused him during the Blues’ 1-0 win over 10-man Manchester United in Monday’s feisty FA Cup quarterfinal, saying that until another manager brings four Premier League titles to Stamford Bridge, “Judas is No. 1.”
Mourinho was labelled “Judas” and targeted with chants of “F— off Mourinho”, “It’s all your fault” and “You’re not special any more” by a section of Blues fans behind the dugouts in the East Stand, as he protested to the fourth official and clashed with Antonio Conte in the wake of Ander Herrera’s second booking.
The United manager responded by holding up three fingers in reference to the three Premier League titles he won across two spells at Stamford Bridge, and after the match insisted that his status as Chelsea’s greatest-ever manager will remain unchallenged even if Conte makes them champions this season.
“They can call me what they want,” Mourinho said. “I am a professional. I defend my club. Until the moment they have a manager that wins four Premier Leagues for them, I’m the No. 1.
“When they have somebody who wins four Premier Leagues for them, I’ll be No. 2. For this moment, ‘Judas’ is No. 1.”
Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea for a second time in December 2015, seven months after winning the Premier League title. He was boss when Chelsea won their first championship in 50 years in 2005.
There were several tense exchanges between Conte and Mourinho during the match — which was settled by N’Golo Kante’s 25-yard strike in the 51st minute — and the pair did not acknowledge each other at the final whistle, though sources told ESPN FC that they did shake hands in the tunnel.
Conte was infuriated by what he perceived as United’s persistent targeting of Hazard in the first half, while Mourinho afterwards pointed to Herrera’s dismissal as the moment that tilted the match decisively in Chelsea’s favour.
“We can analyse in different perspectives,” he added. “Everyone can do it in a different way. But we have to agree there was a match until the moment Herrera saw the red card, and then there was another match after that.
“Before that, I saw a game with the feeling I was going to win. Everything was under control and their frustration was evident because they couldn’t play the way they always play. Then, with 10 men, it was very difficult for us.
“Our strategy was to play with two up front. When we had two up front, the three central defenders couldn’t come with the ball. They were giving bad long balls, outside the pitch. Then when we had one player less, they had three against one and could bring the ball and be more dominant.
“In spite of that, we defended really well. In spite of that, we had the biggest chance of the game when Rashford faces the Chelsea goalkeeper. So I’m really proud of my players, after Thursday in Rostov and with them again on Thursday … I’m really proud of the guys.”
Speaking earlier on the BBC, Mourinho had noted that referee Michael Oliver had previously awarded three penalties against United this year, but he was less outspoken in the news conference.
He said: “Mr Oliver … goes home and can do his own analysis because I don’t want to analyse his work.”