The ex-Tottenham boss came flying off the touchline to contest a dubious goal against his team and was promptly sent packing
There is no such thing as a friendly match when Jose Mourinho is involved, and the Roma boss proved as much by receiving a red card when tempers boiled over in Saturday’s pre-season clash with Betis.
The well-travelled manager has never been afraid to share his opinions, but this time, his forthrightness landed him in hot water when he was sent to the dressing room alongside Lorenzo Pellegrini for storming onto the pitch to contest a refereeing decision.
Roma finished the match down to eight men in an eventual 5-2 defeat.
Roma and Betis were tied at 2-2 when Alex Moreno handed the Spanish side the lead in bizarre circumstances with just under an hour played.
Moreno found himself with the goal at his mercy after Roger Ibanez accidentally diverted a cross onto his own crossbar, but Moreno slipped as he went for the ball and ended up rolling it over the line in a prostrate position using an assorted selection of body parts.
One of those, Roma contended, was his left arm, and the referee’s refusal to disallow the effort caused the Italians to swarm around him; followed by Mourinho who hurried over to join the commotion.
Pellegrini and the manager were both expelled, the catalyst for a dramatic Roma collapse.
Two further players, Gianluca Mancini and Rick Karsdop, also saw red to leave the Italians with eight on the pitch, while Betis took full advantage to net two further goals and thrash their adversaries 5-2.
Incredibly, Saturday’s fracas was the third on-pitch confrontation Roma have sparked in their last two games, suggesting that a lot more fireworks can be expected once the real action begins.
‘He only jokes off the pitch’
Mourinho received a rousing reception upon taking the Roma job early this summer, with fans hoping he can restore Champions League football to the Stadio Olimpico after finishing a lowly seventh in 2020-21.
Karsdorp is one of the Special One’s new charges, and insists that despite his larger than life public persona he is taking his role very seriously indeed.
“In the world of football, everyone knows the Special One. But I only knew him from TV and interviews,” the defender said to Il Romanista.
“Now I can say that I like very much how he works, how he makes us train: the sessions are hard, but I like them so, they make me stronger.
“I like the way he talks. When I returned from the holidays, I wondered how he was, I was curious: I had only seen it on TV.
“He is a person who likes jokes at the right time. And this is very important for the group. But it only happens off the pitch. When we work, he is always very serious.”