Roma head coach Jose Mourinho has denied using abusive language towards referee Anthony Taylor in a car park after last season’s Europa League final.
Mourinho was handed a four-match ban by UEFA in June for his conduct during and after Roma’s penalty shootout defeat to Sevilla in Budapest in May.
The Portuguese manager accused Taylor of favouring Sevilla after the match but was then filmed shouting towards the Premier League official in the stadium car park: “You were a f****** disgrace tonight. It is a disgrace.”
Taylor was later confronted by angry Roma supporters as he made his way through Budapest airport with his family.
Giving his own version of events during an interview with Corriere dello Sport, Mourinho claimed Taylor was not present during his car park outburst, which, he said, was instead directed at the official’s assistants and UEFA’s refereeing chief, Robero Rosetti.
The former Manchester United and Chelsea manager also said he felt that Premier League referee Taylor should have apologised for apparent mistakes during the game.
Speaking about the car park incident, Mourinho said: “Taylor wasn’t there. Taylor was still in the ground.”
Asked to whom he was directing his frustration, Mourinho added: “Other people, not Taylor. The fourth official, his assistants, Rosetti, Howard Webb, the technical director of the PGMOL.”
Expanding on the incident, he said: “Everything ends, we go back into the dressing room, I go down to the garage and the refereeing team come in.
“I’ve got a good relationship with Webb and Rosetti. They’ve both refereed my games. I know it wasn’t elegant, but I didn’t insult anyone.
“I went over to Rosetti and said: ‘Ref’ — that’s what I call him — ‘ref, is it a penalty or isn’t it a penalty?’ Rosetti did what refs usually do. He didn’t reply. I asked Webb the same question. He put his hand on my shoulder and said: ‘Yes, Jose, it’s a pen.’
“Webb did what I would have liked Taylor to do. Because if Taylor, or someone else in his place, had come to our dressing room crestfallen, and said: ‘I got it wrong, we made a mistake, I’m sorry’, it wouldn’t have just ended there, he would have had our respect and admiration. I’ve never questioned his integrity. I didn’t like his decision, the cards, but I keep thinking he’s a very good ref and if we get him again next season, I’ll be honest, there won’t be any problems.”
Mourinho, who has a year left on his contract at Roma, insists he did not think about leaving in the aftermath of defeat, but claimed he had briefly considered two offers to manage in Al Hilal and Al Ahli in Saudi Arabia, after rejecting an earlier one from China.
Asked if he considered accepting a lucrative offer, Mourinho said: “Yes. I informed the club before going to the meeting, making it clear that I had no intention to accept.
“In the past, I turned down the most unbelievable offer a coach has ever received when China offered me the job of the national team and the club where all the national team players played. It was an indecent proposal. Out of this world.”
Asked about his status as a top-level coach still, he added: “I’m as good as ever.”
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