Claudio Ranieri deserved stadium tribute, not the sack says Jose Mourinho

24 February 2017 02:54

Jose Mourinho says the dismissal of Claudio Ranieri is "very, very difficult to accept" and believes the Italian deserved to have Leicester's stadium named after him rather than the sack.

The Manchester United boss , who wore a shirt bearing Ranieri's initials as a mark of his respect at his Friday press conference, believes the Foxes boss was let down by the "selfishness" of others.

Less than 10 months on from shocking the football world by becoming Premier League champions, the Leicester board brought Ranieri's historic reign to an abrupt end on Thursday night.

Ranieri paid for Leicester's poor form and apparent dressing room unrest, with much of the football world uniting in support of the outgoing manager.

Mourinho's relationship with the Italian has been fraught at times over the years, but he followed up an Instagram tribute to Ranieri with further warm words on Friday, and described his own sacking by Chelsea in December 2015 - again just months after winning a league title - as "peanuts" by comparison.

Speaking about the initialled shirt, Mourinho said: "It is my little homage to somebody that wrote the most beautiful history of the Premier League.

"Somebody that probably would deserve the Leicester stadium to be named 'Claudio Ranieri' - and he is sacked. So I think Leicester made history two years in a row.

"One year because they did the most beautiful thing in the Premier League and one of the most beautiful histories in football history.

"And now they are also in the highlights with the decision that I think has everyone in football united because it is something very, very difficult to accept.

"But at the same time, it is good for all of us to realise how football is at the time and we need to adapt to it.

"I thought last season when I was sacked as a champion, I thought it was a giant negative thing. Now I realise it was peanuts compared with what happened to Claudio.

"So my Instagram (message) was a little homage, my shirt is another one and I don't think he needs more homages because nobody can delete what he did.

"And if some of the stories that I am reading are true (about a player revolt against Ranieri) or have just a little bit of truth, it is difficult to find words to justify that but it is also something we managers we have to cope with."

Mourinho was asked for his view of the decision the Leicester owners had taken.

"I don't want to speak because I am not inside, I have no right to try to find scenarios," the United manager said.

"You know, I think it is Claudio's fault because if last season instead of being champion, he finished 12th it would be amazing and this season he would be still in the job because Leicester play not to be relegated. So it is his fault, he is paying for his success.

"Probably the season started with the typical selfishness of others, people thinking about new contracts, people thinking about leaving, people thinking about more money, people forgetting who helped them reach a certain level.

"But this is not just football, I think this is also a bit of our world. Maybe your world, too.

"Some principles are going away a little bit, so I am really sorry about it. But I lived a similar experience. I repeat, peanuts compared with the dimension of Claudio's.

"But there is something nobody can do: delete the history, so no problem Claudio. Nobody can delete."

Source: PA


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