Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho brushed off jeers aimed his way from Chelsea supporters on Monday night, insisting that until they have a manager that’s been as successful as him, "Judas is No. 1."
During the FA Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge, a match settled in the Blues’ favour by N’Golo Kante’s second-half goal, the home fans criticised their ex-manager as he tangled with current Chelsea boss Antonio Conte on the sidelines.
When asked about the ire after the match, Mourinho was typically sharp in his response, per Michael Hincks of Sky Sports.
"They can call what they want," said the Portuguese. "I am a professional. I defend my club and until the moment they have a manager that wins four Premier Leagues for them, I am the No. 1. When they have someone who wins four titles, I become No. 2. But until this moment, Judas is No. 1."
As noted by Henry Winter of the Times, Mourinho couldn’t resist making reference to the three titles he’d won during his time at Stamford Bridge during the game either:
Henry Winter @henrywinter
“F*** off, Mourinho” chant #cfc fans after Mourinho wanted Hazard booked for diving. Mourinho holds up 3 fingers (for titles he won here).2017-3-13 20:14:32
Tensions flared during the FA Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge after Ander Herrera was sent off for United in the first period.
Referee Michael Oliver had warned the visiting captain Chris Smalling about his side’s persistent fouling during the contest, although the Spain international almost immediately felled Chelsea man Eden Hazard. Having already picked up a yellow card for a bodycheck on the same man, he was given his marching orders.
Conte was evidently unhappy with the way in which the Red Devils approached the game and the way Hazard was targeted. "For 20 or 25 minutes, it was impossible for Hazard to play football," he said afterwards, per Liam Twomey of ESPN FC. "I see only that he got a lot of kicks."
As noted by Jack Rathborn of the Daily Mirror, it’s a stance Mourinho took in the past when he was the Chelsea boss:
Jack Rathborn @JackRathborn
Mourinho cried for greater protection for Hazard after PSG kicked him off the pitch in 2015, he's now become what he hated #CFC #CHEMUN https://t.co/OJbB4drg062017-3-13 22:58:57
While the atmosphere was white-hot at Stamford Bridge, the abuse the Portuguese received from the Chelsea supporters was a surprise. Not only is Mourinho the most successful manager in the club’s history, his sacking in 2015 saw supporters stand up for the coach, with the likes of Hazard, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas branded "rats" by some fans in the aftermath.
Mourinho enjoyed two successful spells at Chelsea, winning the Premier League twice in the first and once in the second; he also lifted one FA Cup and three League Cups during his time at the Bridge.
The second spell ended in sour style, though, with the Blues languishing in 16th in the table just months after their 2014-15 title win and Mourinho cutting a disillusioned figure on the sidelines. Since his appointment in the summer, Conte has come in and enlivened a club that had slipped into something of a malaise.