Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho appears to have risked a Football Association charge with his comments over referee Anthony Taylor ahead of his side's Premier League clash with Liverpool.
Taylor is from Wythenshawe, Manchester and the decision to select him for Monday's (17 October) game against United's arch-rivals at Anfield has been met with dismay from sections of Liverpool's supporters.
Keith Hackett, the former head of the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd [PGMOL] also criticised the decision.
Referees are banned from officiating matches involving clubs they support but are free to officiate games featuring teams from their hometowns.
Taylor supports non-league side Altrincham and has no ties with United, but Mourinho has openly questioned whether the match official will now find himself under too much pressure when the two sides meet.
"I think somebody with intention is putting such pressure on him that I feel it will be difficult for him to have a very good performance," the United boss said.
While Mourinho stressed he believes Taylor is a "good referee", talking about match officials before matches is prohibited by the FA.
FA rules, which were introduced in 2009 state: "Clubs are being advised that any media comments by managers, players or any other club official relating to appointed match officials prior to a fixture will no longer be allowed – such pre-match comments will be deemed improper and dealt with accordingly."
Hackett, who served as head of referees until 2010, strongly backed Taylor's "integrity" but admitted it would be "intolerable" if a controversial call were to arise on Monday.
"Taylor is also in form and establishing himself firmly as one of the select group's best operators," Hackett said. "But what if something goes wrong for him on the day – as it can for even the finest referees? That's when the focus on him would be intolerable, especially if a controversial incident has gone in favour of Liverpool and it influences the result."
Mourinho meanwhile is no stranger to FA sanctions. In 2015, he was charged
In 2015, he was charged for misconduct in relation to comments made over match officials in a 3-1 defeat to Southampton while in charge of Chelsea. During a memorable rant in front of TV cameras during his post-match comments, the Portuguese manager said officials were "afraid to give decisions for Chelsea".