José Mourinho diverted attention from Tottenham’s diminishing hopes of Champions League qualification after their 3-1 home defeat by Manchester United on Sunday by attacking Ole Gunnar Solskjær over claims that Son Heung-min had conned the referee into disallowing a goal.
Tottenham’s manager, whose side sit seventh in the Premier League, six points off fourth place, launched a bizarre rant against Solskjær after his United counterpart said he would not feed his own son if he behaved like Son had.
Edinson Cavani had a goal chalked off with the help of VAR after Scott McTominay’s perceived foul on the South Korea striker, who was caught in the face by the midfielder’s fingers. Tottenham later revealed that Son had suffered “abhorrent racial abuse” on social media in the wake of the incident.
“I have to say if my son stays down like this for three minutes and he gets 10 of his mates around him if he gets that in the face from one of his other mates, and he needs 10 mates to help him up, he won’t get any food,” Solskjær said of Son.
He had accused Spurs of conning the officials at Old Trafford in October. Asked whether United had been conned again, he replied: “No, we weren’t [conned], the referee was.”
Mourinho, whose side have forfeited 18 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season and who has now endured 10 league defeats for the first time in his managerial career, was not impressed and said he had told Solskjær as much.
“I’m very, very surprised after the comments that Ole made on Sonny, you don’t ask me about it,” he said. “Because, if it’s telling me that player A, B or C from another club was my son and I wouldn’t give him dinner tonight, what would be the reaction to that? It’s very, very sad that you don’t ask me about that.
“It’s sad that you don’t have the moral honesty to treat me the same way as you treat others. In relation to Sonny, I just want to say that Sonny is very lucky that his father is a better person than Ole. I am a father. I think as a father you always have to feed your kids.
“Doesn’t matter what they do. If you have to steal to feed your kids, you steal. I’m very, very disappointed. We have a saying in Portugal, bread is bread and cheese is cheese.”
Spurs said of the online abuse of Son: “This has again been reported to the platforms and we shall now undertake a full review alongside the Premier League to determine the most effective action moving forward. We stand with you, Sonny.”
After goals from Fred, Cavani and Mason Greenwood secured victory for second-placed United, Mourinho was also asked whether he agreed with Roy Keane’s pre-match assertion that Spurs were a “soft touch”.
Tottenham’s manager, whose future in north London must be the subject of considerable doubt, replied that he was unable to divulge his honest opinions but, crucially, did not disagree with the former Manchester United captain turned Sky pundit.
“The pundits can say what they want,” he said. “Many times, of course, they’re right. Sometimes wrong. It is much more difficult for me to go into that debate.”
Mourinho felt Paul Pogba should have been sent off for an undetected elbow on Serge Aurier. “I think we were unlucky because maybe Pogba should get a red card,” he said. “But it was a good game and, in my opinion we didn’t deserve to lose but we lost against a very good team … We need points and we lost three. There’s no way to run away from that.”
Solskjær, who said overhauling Manchester City in the title race would take “a miracle”, hinted at regret regarding his comments about Son, stressing his “respect” for Mourinho – although he did wink at the zoom camera after saying that – but United’s manager agreed Cavani’s disallowed goal was a watershed. “I think from that moment onwards, we played some very good football,” he said. Of VAR’s intervention he said: “The game is absolutely gone if that’s a clear and obvious error.”
Cavani excelled and United’s manager said he was endeavouring to persuade the Uruguayan to extend his contract at Old Trafford. “I want him at Old Trafford, in front of a full Stretford End, scoring a header like today. Let’s wait and see.”