Martin O’Neill has no sympathy for Jose Mourinho

Martin O'Neill

Jose Mourinho’s tilt at winning the Uefa Champions League with three different clubs came unstuck in midweek but the Portuguese garnered little sympathy from Ireland boss Martin O’Neill. 

A wry smile gleamed across the Derryman’s face when he heard Mourinho accuse Paris Saint-Germain of time-wasting during his post-match interview following their exit at the last-16 stage on Tuesday.

“After the second goal, there was no more game,” moaned Mourinho.

“They (PSG) took time to celebrate, simulations of injuries, make a change then not make the change.”

O’Neill had reason to laugh for he claims his Celtic team were on the receiving end of similar gamesmanship in 2003 when Porto lifted the Uefa Cup at the SPL champions’ expense in Seville.

“We had a great Celtic team then but the players were cheated out of winning a Uefa Cup,” exclaimed O’Neill.

“Seriously, Jose talked about PSG wasting time when they got in front, taking time out of the game.

“This is nothing new to that, it’s not something to be frowned upon and most teams do it.

“In fact, he was biggest exponent of that himself.

“All he has to do is watch a DVD of the last five minutes of extra-time in that UEFA Cup final in Seville.

“Their goalkeeper Victor Baía went down and had five doctors surrounding him, unsure of what part of his body to hold onto.

“The doctors were signalling to the bench. I’m sure there was a helicopter and ambulance going to the mortuary.

“Remarkably, he survived. They were trying to pull the game out in the last few minutes. “This was a very young Jose Mourinho before Porto went on and won the Champions League the following year.”

O’Neill felt that, given the play-acting revolving around Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s first-half sending-off at Stamford Bridge, justice was served by the French outfit progressing on away goals.

With his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, he said: “I must admit that when that nasty, nasty challenge by Ibrahimovic on the little Brazilian Oscar — aptly named, Russell Crowe could not act any better — that there was going to be an ambulance rushed out for him and that his career was finished!

“Remarkably, after Ibrahimovic was sent off, Oscar was back up again and continued on in the game. But Chelsea got their comeuppance.”

Roy Keane was equally aghast as his boss sitting alongside him when asked about the topic of diving during Waterford United’s fundraiser on Thursday. He said: “Looking back to the Chelsea game, you are keen not to show that you are hurt, yet you have these boys rolling around as if they have been shot.

“I think it’s shocking and Manchester United have a few of them at the moment in their young players.”


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