ROME (Reuters) – Jose Mourinho says a lack of respect led to his famous ‘cupped ear’ reaction to Juventus fans while he was in charge of Manchester United, as the Portuguese prepares to return to Turin in charge of AS Roma on Sunday.
Mourinho walked into the centre of the Allianz Stadium pitch with his hand cupped over his ear towards Juve fans after his United side won a Champions League game there in November 2018.
The 58-year-old was asked what reaction he expected to receive from the home crowd when his Roma side, who are fourth and four points clear of Juve in seventh, take to the pitch.
“Maybe the same as always, or different, I don’t know,” Mourinho told a news conference.
“When I reacted at the end of the game last time in a way that was criticised, I thought it was a bit strange.
“People remembered the 10 second emotional reaction and forgot 90 minutes of the game. Today we talk about respect but in those 90 minutes that was all forgotten.”
Mourinho and Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri have clashed in the past, and the Italian called his counterpart “pathetic” on Italian television in 2011, but the Roma manager insisted there is no bad blood between them.
“It is not a game between him and me. It is Juve-Roma and in the past it was Manchester United-Juve,” he said.
“It will be nice to greet him before and after the game. There is respect, and we have met many times at UEFA meetings. It is not a great friendship, but I like him as a person. We have a good relationship.”
Mourinho is one of the names to have been linked with the Newcastle United manager job in the last week, since the Premier League club was bought by a consortium dominated by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) alongside minority partners PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media last week.
“I have nothing to say about Newcastle. The only thing is that for many years I worked with Bobby Robson, one of the most important people in the history of Newcastle,” Mourinho said.
“I know the people well, but nothing more. I am very happy to be at Roma and I am 100 per cent behind this project.”
(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Christian Radnedge)