Jose Mourinho has finally admitted he once got round a two-match ban by hiding in a laundry basket so he could give a Chelsea team talk.
Mourinho, sacked by Manchester United in December, told beIN Sports how he skirted a touchline suspension on the eve of the 2005 Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich by getting the Chelsea kit man to help him stow away in the basket.
Newspapers had reported the incident in 2007, but Mourinho waited years to openly describe how he got around the suspicions of UEFA.
“I go to the dressing room during the day so I was there from midday and the game is seven o’clock. I just want to be in the dressing room when the players arrive,” the 55-year-old said on beIN Sports.
“I went there and nobody saw me. The problem was to leave after. And Stewart Bannister the kit man put me in the basket. It was a little bit open so I could breathe.
“But when he is taking it outside the dressing room, the UEFA guys were following and desperate to find me so he closed the box and I couldn’t breathe! When he opened the box I was dying! I am serious! I was claustrophobic, I promise! It’s true!”
Chelsea won the first leg 4-2 at Stamford Bridge, going through to the semi-finals 6-5 on aggregate before a semi-final defeat by Liverpool and the infamous Luis Garcia ‘ghost goal’.
Chelsea released a statement in 2007 about the reports, claiming they only served to undermine the team before their Champions League semi-final that year, also against Liverpool.
The statement read: “The situation is very clear. Both matches were controlled by UEFA and they were more than satisfied on both nights that their ruling was intact, hence the statements that were issued by UEFA at the time and subsequently.
“The only reason to publish this so close to a big match is to serve an agenda that is intended to undermine our team.”