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11th May 2019

Jose Mourinho takes veiled dig at Manchester United’s ballboys in praise of Liverpool’s

No prizes for guessing which club he's referring to

Darragh Murphy

jose mourinho

That’s it, Jose has officially criticised every single person he could possibly criticise at Old Trafford

Jose Mourinho has praised the quick-thinking of Liverpool’s ballboys on Tuesday night but criticised those of Manchester United.

Reds ballboy Oakley Cannonier has come in for plenty of praise for the fast delivery of the football when Liverpool were setting up for a corner late on in their heroic Champions League semi-final comeback over Barcelona midweek.

Trent Alexander-Arnold took advantage of some lazy Barca organisation to promptly deliver the corner, which arrived at the feet of Divock Origi and resulted in the tie-clinching goal.

Social media quickly picked up on the impact that the ball-boy had on the match as a slower return of the ball would not have given Alexander-Arnold the chance to restart play at the pace desired by manager Jurgen Klopp.

Covering the game for RT, former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho pointed out that “the ballboys can also play a part in a good structure”.

“There is one detail that some media got it. The ballboy,” he continued.

“I had a club where they never understood how important the ball-boys are.

“You want a quick throw-in, the ballboy needs to know that you want a quick throw-in. The ball needs to arrive fast.”

While you might believe that Mourinho could be talking about any of his former sides, it bears remembering the fact that during his spell with United, Mourinho became so frustrated with the performance of the club’s ballboys that he replaced them with academy players who he’d hoped would have a better knowledge of the momentum of a match.

A former ballboy himself, the Portuguese has had his fair share of run-ins with opposition ball-boys in the past and it’s clear that Mourinho appreciates the need for youngsters to be able to read the game when they’re responsible for returning the ball.

“I was a ballboy, a top ballboy,” Mourinho said. “When I was a ballboy, I even knew where the players wanted the ball for a corner, so they didn’t need to touch the ball.

“A real football club, every detail is very, very important.

“In this game, the kid, very intelligent, very bright.

“I don’t know if he is an academy player or not, but the kid knew what he was going to do.

“Then Alexander-Arnold, he read the situation fantastically well. Young kid, Champions League semi-final, tired, 80 minutes of football. He saw everything.

“And then of course, Origi, he could have put the ball over the bar, it’s not easy, but he put it there.”