Premier League: reactions to the Brawl at the Bridge
Chelsea and Man Utd played out a classic as Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 2 Manchester United 2
Chelsea and Manchester United shared the spoils on Saturday but the dramatic 2-2 draw was overshadowed by an extraordinary brawl at the Bridge.
At the centre of the confrontation, inevitably, was Jose Mourinho, although the United manager for once didn’t provoke the pandemonium. That dishonour went to Maurizio Sarri’s assistant coach, Marco Ianni, whose wild celebrations in front of the United dugout made Mourinho mad.
United, who went a goal down in the first half when Antonio Rudiger headed the hosts in front, fought back after the break with two goals from Anthony Martial. But just as Mourinho and his men thought they had inflicted the first Premier League defeat of the season on the Blues, Ross Barkley levelled in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
BBC Sport footage showed Ianni running along the touchline in front of the United dugout before returning and pumping his fist right by Mourinho.
That was too much for the United boss, who leapt from his seat and “chased Ianni down into the tunnel as the argument erupted between the two sides”, says the Daily Express.
Stewards were forced to get involved as tempers flared and words were exchanged, but Mourinho explained later that Sarri had smoothed his ruffled feathers.
“Sarri was first to come to me and say he would resolve the problem internally with him,” said Mourinho. “His assistant came to me in Sarri’s office and apologised to me. I said ‘if you really feel that way I accept your apology and forget it, because I also made lots of mistakes in my career. I’m not going to kill you because of one.’ He apologised and I accepted it.”
Whether that will be the last we hear of the incident remains to be seen, the Express reports. It says the FA could take further action against Ianni or Mourinho for the ugly scenes that spoiled an otherwise exciting encounter.
Not that a draw does either club much good, with Chelsea now two points behind Liverpool and Manchester City, both of whom won on Saturday.
What they said about the ‘Brawl at the Bridge’
Gary Neville: “For me, over-enthusiastic celebrations are a part of the game, but I also think that if you’re on the end of it, you should be able to react. We can sit here and say it’s ridiculous that these managers react, but what you saw at the end was raw emotion.”
Alan Pardew: “This guy - the second coach or whoever he is - his first action is unacceptable and the second action is also doubly unacceptable.”
Jamie Redknapp: “You’ve just conceded a last-minute equaliser, it hurts. I don’t always stick up for him [Mourinho], or feel he conducts himself in the right way, but I get it. There’s passion involved, it’s high-stakes, he’s under enormous pressure.”
Paul Parker: “When you look on the Chelsea part of it, he [Ianni] did it on two occasions – it was completely ridiculous, embarrassing and Chelsea should deal with him internally. But Jose should’ve known better than to react in that way because all he did was give everyone what they wanted, and that’s the way it worked out.”
Premier League results and fixtures
- Chelsea 2 Manchester United 2
- Bournemouth 0 Southampton 0
- Cardiff City 4 Fulham 2
- Manchester City 5 Burnley 0
- Newcastle United 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
- West Ham United 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Watford 2
- Huddersfield Town 0 Liverpool 1
- Everton 2 Crystal Palace 0
- Arsenal vs. Leicester City (8pm, live on Sky Sports)