Friday 19 January 2018

Gullit: I have my doubts over Mourinho

Ruud Gullit
Ruud Gullit

Paul Ward and Andy Newport

Former Chelsea manager Ruud Gullit admitted his doubts over whether Jose Mourinho will be able to match up to the feats he managed during his first spell in charge at Stamford Bridge.

The former Porto, Inter Milan and Real Madrid head coach led the Blues to two Premier League titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup between 2004 and 2007.

But the Portuguese has suffered an erratic start to his second reign in west London, with just three wins from Chelsea's opening seven fixtures.

Now Gullit has suggested it is unlikely that double Champions League winner Mourinho will be able to sweep all before him for a second time.

The Dutchman - who was speaking at Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, as he promoted next year's Ryder Cup - said: "I have my doubts. Not because of his quality, I have my doubts that you can go to a team a second time and that you can do the same things.

"If he proves me wrong that will be an unbelievable achievement because I don't often see success in a second spell happening."

Mourinho reacted with a spiky dig at Gullit during a live TV interview on Saturday night following Chelsea's 2-0 win over Fulham when the former AC Milan playmaker suggested there was a personal rift between the current Blues boss and out-of-favour Spaniard Juan Mata.

Jamie Redknapp was also on the receiving end after questioning Mourinho's treatment of Mata.

But the Chelsea coach reserved his sternest response for Gullit, whose recent managerial record was raised by Mourinho.

He said: "Ruud Gullit is a different pundit because he was also a manager. I think he shouldn't be a very proud manager for what he did in the last three years."

But Gullit - who led the Blues to the FA Cup in 1997 - refused to take Mourinho's words too seriously.

Asked about Mourinho's criticism, he said: "That's good, he needs to protect his players and that is what he does.

"I don't take offence to it, the fact that he took the time to speak shows that we were spot on and he wanted to put it straight, in his way, to protect his players."

Mata's continued exile from Chelsea's starting line-up has been the main topic of conversation for Blues fans but Mourinho insists the World Cup winner must up his work rate off the ball before he can reclaim his place.

Gullit, though, is concerned Mourinho is stripping the flair from his side.

"Everybody has difficult results, the only thing I want to see at Chelsea is a little more fun in their game," he said.

"The style is pragmatic just now but they have the players that can play and I would like to see that a little bit more."

Press Association

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