Belfast Telegraph

Jose Mourinho springs to defence of Fellani after Manchester United fans boo Belgian during Spurs game

By Ian Herbert

Jose Mourinho last night declared that he believed his own supporters were entitled to boo Marouane Fellaini after the Belgian provoked that reaction while warming up during the second half of the Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur.

The boos, for a player who incurred ironic cheering here two seasons ago, were described by match commentator Gary Neville as "poor to see." They were in part a reaction to the late penalty the midfielder conceded against his old club Everton last week.

"I accept it because from the fans you have to accept everything and especially fans that are giving so much without getting so much," he said.

"The only things they are getting are honesty, professionalism dedication but not the results they expect. They have in their mind the mistake that Marouane did at Everton and no more than that. He is a player and a person I like and the person is more important. He will always have my protection and my trust."

Mourinho, who said that his man of the match Henrikh Mkhitaryan should be miss only two weeks of football after being stretchered off with an ankle injury, declared that his side felt that a Premier League title could be theirs one day soon.

Mourinho refused to get into criticism of Tottenham's Danny Rose for the cynical tackle from which Mkhitaryan fell awkwardly, twisting his left ankle.

Asked if it was a bad challenge, he said: "I don't know." Asked if the player would miss the next few games he replied: "I would say [yes]. The injury doesn't look like a big one. It doesn't look like one needing surgery or months of recovery. It depends always on the player - the physiology and the psychology."

The Portuguese had declared in the match programme that he believes United are in the Premier League top three for performances. After Mkhitaryan's goal secured victory, he said: "In terms of the evolution of the team, the result is just a plus and if our objective is to improve and improve and improve and arrive one day as soon as possible to the title."

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted that the failure to kick on after beating Manchester City in late September, with defeats now to Chelsea and United and a draw against Arsenal, was "disappointing." The side are now 10 points of the top.

Pochettino said: "The concern is not too much. The Premier League is tough and Chelsea started very badly and for different circumstances they change the system and look where they are now.

"There is [not] too much time to recover the gap." Asked if the team had fallen short in big games, he said: "Yes if you take results without context maybe yes but with all the context I can explain what happen after that, many little things that happen in the team. Yes, I agree with your comment."

Belfast Telegraph


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