No graces from Mourinho as Chelsea crash out

April 22, 2006

Jose Mourinho fuelled his feud with Rafael Benitez after Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford to reach the final of the FA Cup.

The rival managers did not shake hands after the match and Mourinho once more refused to acknowledge that Liverpool were worthy winners, just as he had done after the Merseysiders knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League last season.

John Arne Riise and Luis Garcia gave Liverpool a 2-0 lead before Didier Drogba pulled one back for Chelsea in a frantic finale.

Mourinho said: 'Did the best team win today? I don't think so. In the last 30 minutes we deserved extra time.

'In the first half nobody was better. They had a good start to the second half but then we dominated the game. I cannot wish them luck in the final. Middlesbrough and West Ham will be there and I must respect them.'

There was precious little respect for Liverpool, however, who have now won two of their last 10 matches against Chelsea, crucially both semi-finals in the Champions League and the FA Cup.

Mourinho, however, does not believe it is a sign that Liverpool can challenge for the Barclays Premiership title next season.

He said: 'In the Premiership they have no chance. Over 40 matches no chance. Maybe they will surprise me and they can do it.

'But in 10 matches against us they have won twice. In the Premiership the distance between the teams is 45 points over two seasons. We beat them in a final, they beat us in two semi-finals. A psychological advantage? I don't think so.

'In four matches in the Premiership we beat them four times.'

He added somewhat mischievously: 'I wish them luck for their qualification match in the Champions League.'

It was another sour post-match performance from Mourinho who Benitez confirmed did not want to shake hands at the end of the match.

Benitez said: 'I was with our supporters at the end and I could see him but he didn't want to.

'At least we showed the people we can beat them. They have a lot of good players but we do too. We have a great team spirit.

'We are in the final. My players have done a fantastic job.'

And on Mourinho's comments he said: 'I have heard the same things before the Champions League games. We are in the final of the FA Cup and I must give credit to players and not talk about the other team.'

The Chelsea boss, meanwhile, also refused to admit that his decision to play defender Paulo Ferreira in midfield was a mistake, even though he switched him to full-back at half-time when Arjen Robben came on as a substitute.

Mourinho preferred to criticise Graham Poll for awarding a free-kick against John Terry for a high boot which led to Liverpool's first goal.

He said: 'I don't think it was a mistake. The biggest mistake of the first half was the decision for the free-kick for the goal. When the referee gives an important decision 70 metres from the ball that is wrong.

'Ferreira was one of the best players in the team.'

Mourinho instead put the defeat down to missed chances, two by Drogba and one in the last minute by Joe Cole.

Mourinho said: 'You can't miss chances in crucial matches. The good thing is that in two weeks time we have three matches to be champions. Being close to doing that is the best treatment for such a result.'