Gary Neville has defended Jose Mourinho following his outburst at the end of Manchester United’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea on Saturday.
United seemed set to record a second straight win when they recovered from an early goal to go 2-1 up at Stamford Bridge, only for Ross Barkley to slot past David de Gea in the final minute of stoppage time to seal a point for the Blues.
The reaction from Chelsea’s bench sparked an uproar, however, as Mourinho leapt up to confront Marco Ianni after the assistant coach ran in front of the Portuguese.
The incident generated headlines as the United boss said he confronted Ianni, while Maurizio Sarri was disappointed to see it unfold.
And although Mourinho has been criticised for rising to the bait, Neville feels his reaction at the end of a tense affair was justified.
“For me, over-enthusiastic celebrations are a part of the game, but I also think that if you’re on the end of it, you should be able to react,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“We can sit here and say it’s ridiculous that these managers react, but what you saw at the end was raw emotion.
“I could sit here with a halo above my head and say ‘it’s terrible for the people to see at home, it’s not what we want to see representing the game’ or I could actually say ‘I’ve been there, I’ve done it, I’ve been on the receiving end of it.’ You cannot control your emotions and that’s why we love this game because we want to see moments like that.
“For me, Jose Mourinho’s reaction was something I would expect and also something I would expect from the Chelsea bench.
“It was a big moment for the Chelsea team, fans and staff so they’re entitled to over celebrate, you always do with a last minute goal.
“Jose Mourinho actually came onto the scene at Old Trafford sliding down the touchline. My view is I would like to see it more if it was my team celebrating, but I love to see that emotion in football where you see people just lose it – not in a violent way – but in an emotional way.”