Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Plastic Pride Comes before Jose's Fall; THE ARMCHAIR VIEW

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Plastic Pride Comes before Jose's Fall; THE ARMCHAIR VIEW

Article excerpt

Byline: PETE CLARK

IN THE end, it came down to a game of two overcoats. Jose Mourinho was attired in a garment with an unfeasibly sleek and shiny finish. Frank Rijkaard had picked up a little number from the flea markets of Barcelona that sported marching rows of buttons and spoke of military engagements as yet unresolved.

It is always easy to be right in hindsight, but one of these overcoats was more serious than the other, and the more serious one carried the day.

At the outset, the main talking point was the state of the pitch.

With his multibillion pound trust fund, it should not be beyond the scope of Roman Abramovich to buy a rectangle of grass which is more verdant than this one.

Perhaps he should make an unrefusable bid to Burnley to take the whole playing surface at Turf Moor. The way this pitch plays, astroturf would be a better option, and never mind the scorched flesh.

When a visiting team can hoist a mocking banner reading, "Looking for a job - I'm a gardener", then the pitch has already been consigned to the compost heap.

Evidently, as a result of last season's differences of opinion, Jose and Frank were on best behaviour. It was 12 minutes before Jose took his first meaningful swig at a water bottle, and a further three before he got to his feet and started pointing out the obvious to the dunderheads under his command. …

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