Thursday 14 November 2019

Mourinho expects tough QPR clash

Jose Mourinho is not concerned by the recent history between Chelsea and QPR
Jose Mourinho is not concerned by the recent history between Chelsea and QPR

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho focused only on the football ahead of a potentially hostile London derby at QPR on Sunday.

Mourinho's first trip to play QPR at Loftus Road comes with Chelsea fighting for the Premier League title and QPR for survival.

There is also the unpleasant history between the teams resulting from the Anton Ferdinand affair which saw Chelsea captain John Terry banned for four matches and fined £220,000 by the Football Association for 'using abusive language related to colour'.

Terry is poised to return to Loftus Road for the second time since the incident in October 2011 which resulted in a trial and his subsequent acquittal before the FA imposed sanction.

The Blues skipper was stripped of the England captaincy amid the fall-out, and subsequently announced his retirement from international football.

On Sunday, he will avoid facing Anton Ferdinand's brother Rio, who branded him an 'idiot' over the affair, as the former Manchester United defender is out injured.

Mourinho played down the relevance of the incident, saying: "I don't think so. I think it's just a football match.

"Obviously a very important match for both teams. We know that, we know they want to win. Nobody is expecting an easy match."

Asked if he anticipates a hostile reception, Mourinho added: "That's what people tell me. I never played there, I don't know.

"We go to play, we go to win, the people in the stands can play a role, but they cannot score goals. The referee and the assistant referees are there, so I'm not worried."

Chelsea will be without striker Diego Costa with a recurrence of a hamstring injury suffered in last weekend's defeat of Stoke.

"We have eight matches to play, if he plays four it's normal," Mourinho said.

"If he plays three it's a little bit below what I'm expecting. If he plays five it's more than I'm expecting."

Costa will miss the matches with QPR, Manchester United and, probably, Arsenal and Leicester, with Didier Drogba or Loic Remy poised to come in at Loftus Road.

John Obi Mikel is available following a knee injury and Cesc Fabregas will play with a mask to protect his broken nose despite being one yellow card away from a suspension.

Nemanja Matic is also one booking away from a ban, with this Sunday the cut-off date, but Mourinho insists he will field the influential pair in the derby.

"The way we play it's not easy for our players to be booked," Mourinho said.

"(But) if they have to make a foul for a yellow card, this foul they have to do it.

"This match is a three-point match and we have to play with our maximum power."

Manchester City's loss at Crystal Palace on Monday night means Chelsea have a seven-point lead entering this weekend's fixtures, with the target for an unassailable lead less than it was after last Saturday's defeat of Stoke.

"Now it's just five victories or four victories and two draws," Mourinho added.

"Any points we do against QPR our situation improves, but we need points.

"Every team with less than 21 points distance to us mathematically is in the race."

Chelsea have been linked with a move for FC Toyko's Japan striker Yoshinori Muto, but Mourinho was quiet on a prospective deal on Friday.

"I know a little (about Muto)," Mourinho said. "(But) I don't think it's nice for me to speak about a player who plays for FC Tokyo."

FC Tokyo said an offer has been received, with the news coming after Chelsea signed a five-year shirt sponsorship deal with Yokohama Rubber.

Asked about commercial interests influencing transfer policy, Mourinho said: "That's modern football, that's modern management.

"Football is a business, is an industry. You have to think about the financial situation, especially a club like Chelsea that wants always to be under the rules and Financial Fair Play.

"You cannot close completely the door to a little bit of commercial interest.

"But we are a football club, we want to win matches and trophies and we don't get players if we don't believe the player is a good player or a good prospect. That is for sure.

"We would never bring a player if the player has no capacity to be in a Chelsea Football Club squad."

PA Media

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