Maurizio Sarri apologised to Manchester United and admitted Chelsea were in the wrong after one of his coaches sparked a furious touchline row with José Mourinho.
Mourinho leapt from his seat on United’s bench to confront Marco Ianni after Sarri’s assistant coach celebrated Ross Barkley’s dramatic late equaliser for Chelsea by pumping his fists in front of the away dugout at Stamford Bridge.
The dispute spiralled into the tunnel, forcing stewards to intervene, and led to heated exchanges between members of both benches.
It was a while before Mike Dean, the referee, was able to restore order. Once the dust had settled, however, Sarri was quick to accept the blame and criticise Ianni’s actions.
Mourinho, who accused Chelsea’s fans of disrespecting him, also attempted to draw a line under the matter despite saying that Ianni’s actions were down to a “bad education”.
“I didn’t see anything on the pitch but after the match I spoke with José and immediately understood that we are wrong,” Sarri said. “I have spoken with the member of my staff and then I bring him to speak with Mourinho to say sorry to him. I think it is finished. We made a mistake. We were in the wrong.”
Sarri is yet to decide if he will punish Ianni. “I have dealt with the situation immediately,” the Italian said. “I have to speak to him again because I want to be sure he is able to understand that it was a big mistake. I have to view everything. Now the situation is between me and the staff face to face.”
There were so many bodies involved that it was difficult for Dean to get a good view of what happened. The Football Association will have to wait for Dean’s report and view the footage before deciding whether to discipline either club.
It is thought that Mourinho meant that Ianni was guilty of a lack of manners when he spoke about the Italian’s education. In any case, United’s manager was not in a mood to prolong the argument.