Saturday 21 October 2017

Returning Mourinho launches thinly-veiled attack on City

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho made his displeasure with Manchester City clear when he did his occasional trick of calling the manager 'Pellegrino' rather than Pellegrini. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho made his displeasure with Manchester City clear when he did his occasional trick of calling the manager 'Pellegrino' rather than Pellegrini. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Miguel Delaney

Jose Mourinho has stepped up his demand for clubs who fail to comply with Financial Fair Play to be docked points in another jab at Manchester City and another surly press briefing.

Mourinho did not refer to City directly, but the implication could not have been clearer, as he mentioned how teams should not be able "to be champions when they are punished, and it's happened before".

The Portuguese had refused to meet the press before and after last Saturday's 1-1 draw with City, partially because of what he perceived as Diego Costa's unfair suspension for a stamp in the Capital One Cup win over Liverpool, and it seemed as if he had saved up many resentments for yesterday - not least his response to Manuel Pellegrini's argument that Costa's behaviour needs to improve.

The Chelsea manager made a series of points, without explicitly stating them, while still making clear he was only attending the press conference because he had to. He also referenced the Football Association's failure to punish Arsène Wenger for pushing him in October, refused to name Costa because of the situation, and generally responded sarcastically or not at all.

Displeasure

His displeasure with City was again made clear when he did his occasional trick of calling the manager "Pellegrino" rather than Pellegrini. Mourinho had been asked about Chelsea's ability to improve their squad but still make a profit of £7 million, having brought in Juan Cuadrado, to replace Andre Schürrle.

"It's something that was explained 18 months ago when I met our owner before I joined," Mourinho said. "It was explained the profile of club Mr Abramovich wants, with total respect to the FFP rules. To keep the team strong, with the possibility to compete against the ones financially more powerful or against the ones who don't care and don't respect FFP, we had to work very hard. In my area, I tried to do that, analysing the players we can sell and those we can buy. It's a good challenge. The only thing that is not nice is that you compete against the ones who don't follow the same rules. That's the only problem. I don't think a team can be champions when you are punished, and it's happened before, because you didn't comply with FFP."

Mourinho first floated the idea last September, when he also did not mention City by name.

"I don't speak about Man City their players and their options. I appreciate the lesson that Mr Pellegrini wanted to give to one of my players [Costa], but I don't want to do the same or give any kind of word about it." (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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