Ross Barkley’s last-minute equalizer against Manchester United prompted an emotional outpouring from all corners of Stamford Bridge, including in the Chelsea dugout.
Maurizio Sarri, a far cry from Antonio Conte in terms of public displays of living every moment of the match, raised both hands with a big smile and fist pump. But it was his assistant Marco Ianni who kicked off the touchline fracas by bolting out of the dugout, running out towards the pitch with a couple Tiger Woods-esque fist pumps, then turning back around, giving the eyes to Mourinho and then going back to the dugout.
Marco Ianni celebrates with a fist-pump directly in front of Mourinho and then runs back in front of him which clearly incenses the Portuguese manager who gets up and tries to confront the Chelsea assistant coach. Scenes. #CFC #MUFC pic.twitter.com/Ynq9hhyOPq— amadí (@amadoit__) October 20, 2018
But Mourinho took exception to this, jumping to his feet and running after the Chelsea coach. José was of course followed by the rest of the United bench — that’s not “handling it well” as incredibly biased football commentator Phil Neville claimed, who also wants Ianni sacked for this silliness. Eventually, things calmed down and Mike Dean blew his final whistle in about the 100th minute.
Things got heated on the touchline after Ross Barkley's equaliser. pic.twitter.com/Dy4bClcEBs— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 20, 2018
After the match, Mourinho took the high road — even though it was him who started the whole thing to try to retaliate — confirming that both Ianni and Sarri apologized to him, and knowing full well that he himself has done similar things in his younger days.
“What happened was with Sarri’s assistant and Sarri was the first one to come to me and say he would resolve it internally wit him. After that, his assistant came to me in Sarri’s office and apologized.
“I immediately said, ‘If you really feel that way and want to apologize of course I accept. Forget it, because I’ve also made lots of mistakes in my career. I’m not going to kill you because of [just] one.’”
-José Mourinho; source: Sky
That’s unlikely to be the final word as this is a juicy incident to grab onto and overanalyze, but it should be. Sarri will have a chat with Ianni, maybe have a good laugh about it all, and then we can move on with our lives and talk about how we need to take our chances better and put teams away instead of letting them come back into games.