Saturday 21 April 2018

Jose Mourinho sidesteps questions on Sunderland defeat ahead of Atletico showdown

Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho speaks during a news conference at Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid
Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho speaks during a news conference at Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid

Matt McGeehan

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was in a curt mood on the eve of his team's Champions League semi-final first leg with Atletico Madrid and refused to discuss Saturday's controversial Premier League loss to Sunderland.

The relegation-threatened Black Cats won 2-1 at Stamford Bridge to end Mourinho's 77-match unbeaten home record in the Premier League and further dent Chelsea's title hopes, leaving the old European Cup as their most likely chance of silverware this term.

Midfielder Ramires, Mourinho and his assistant Rui Faria could all face scrutiny when the Football Association returns from its extended weekend on Tuesday for incidents during the loss.

Mourinho made only a statement after the match in which he made veiled criticisms of the officials and referees' chief Mike Riley, and he declined to elaborate on Monday.

"Today and tomorrow and also Wednesday are Champions League days and if you want to speak about the Premier League you have 19 teams in England that you can speak with," Mourinho said.

"Chelsea today and tomorrow is Champions League and we are only available to speak about Champions League.

"We are lucky to be involved in the Champions League, so we are lucky that in the next two days we don't think about the Premier League and what's happened and what is going to happen because now we only think about tomorrow."

Asked how important it is that his players, his staff and he himself keep their composure in the Vicente Calderon Stadium on Tuesday, Mourinho added: "We always behave in relation to the situation."

Ramires' domestic season could be at a premature end after he caught Sebastian Larsson with a failing arm, while Faria was sent to the stands for angrily approaching fourth official Phil Dowd.

Mourinho, meanwhile, laced his appraisal of match referee Mike Dean with sarcasm, barely hiding his contempt after Fabio Borini - on loan from the Premier League leaders - netted the decisive penalty in comments which could lead to him facing further censure from the FA.

He declined the opportunity to speak about Tuesday's referee, the Swede Jonas Eriksson, who was criticised by Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini earlier this season.

"I don't speak about the referees before the game," Mourinho said.

"Before the game I always think that the referee is there to do his job. And tomorrow I don't change my mind.

"I hope he has a good game. I hope he's prepared for the dimension of the game. I hope he's happy."

Curiously, Chelsea face their own goalkeeper on Tuesday as Thibaut Courtois is poised to feature against his parent club during his third successive season on loan at Atletico.

It was reported that Chelsea would demand the Spanish side pay a fee of around 3million euros for each game in accordance with their confidential loan agreement, but UEFA announced it expected Courtois to be free to face the Blues.

Mourinho said: "I think that on UEFA decisions it's better not to comment, you just accept or if you don't accept you don't make any comment. UEFA decides and I think managers don't comment."

Asked for his thoughts on Courtois, Mourinho said: "I don't speak about players from other teams."

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