Thursday 21 September 2017

Mourinho's warning to Chelsea veterans

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Norwich City at Stamford Bridge. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Norwich City at Stamford Bridge. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Matt Law

Jose Mourinho has warned captain John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole they could face nervous waits over their Chelsea futures.

Left-back Cole appeared to be in tears as he, Terry and Lampard broke off from the rest of the Chelsea squad to applaud the home fans after yesterday's goalless draw against Norwich.

Terry, Lampard and Cole are all out of contract at the end of the season, and are yet to sign new deals. The Norwich clash was Chelsea's final home game of the campaign and could prove to be a Stamford Bridge send-off for the trio who have 1,609 Chelsea appearances between them.

Terry is in negotiations over a new contract, while Chelsea contacted the Cole camp last week to try to start talks. Lampard's future remains unresolved.

Asked whether he expects Terry, Lampard and Cole to play for Chelsea next season, Mourinho said: "Again, they are talking to the club on their future. I think so. I think so. But now it's time to wait a little bit. The summer is a long summer for us. For the players at the World Cup it's a different story. But for us, as a club, it's a long time to be calm, to sit and discuss and analyse our options, the market and possibilities. A long time."

Goalkeeper Petr Cech joined Terry, Lampard and Cole to applaud the Chelsea fans and pose for photographs. Cech's future could be thrown into doubt by the return of Thibaut Courtois from Atletico Madrid.

Having criticised the work ethic of Eden Hazard in the Champions League defeat to Atletico, Mourinho left the Belgian out of his starting line-up for the visit of Norwich.

Hazard helped inspire an improved second-half performance after being introduced at the break, but Mourinho refused to single the forward out for praise.

"The team was much better in the second half," said Mourinho. "Was Eden playing in the second half, yes? Had he responsibilities in the second half, yes?

"The first half was a lazy first half, slow, no pressure, midfield never arriving to press an opponent, passing slow. In the second half the ball arrived much faster, to the wingers, between the lines, Willian, Hazard, Schurrle, Cole attacked people and beat people."

Asked whether he has spoken to Hazard about his criticisms, Mourinho added: "We speak every day."

The draw with Norwich effectively ended Chelsea's title hopes and Mourinho claimed it could have been a better season for his team without "a couple of festivals".

It is believed Mourinho was referring to controversial refereeing incidents and the Portuguese felt Chelsea should have been awarded a penalty for Ryan Bennett's second-half challenge on Hazard.

"Hazard, I saw," said Mourinho. "I saw in the game, but to confirm I had a quick run to my office which is just there, and I arrived in time to watch (a replay) and then go back to the dugout laughing. The other one I didn't and it's better not to comment."

Asked why he was laughing, Mourinho replied: "Because I can't cry. I'm sorry. My assistant is in jail. And I don't want to talk."

Assessing his team's season, Mourinho added: "They tried everything. With a couple of festivals we had during the season, without festivals it would have been a better season too." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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