Monday 23 October 2017

Mourinho hits out at media

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho on Friday ended his self-imposed, 10-day public silence
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho on Friday ended his self-imposed, 10-day public silence

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho spoke publicly for the first time in 10 days on Friday and refused to hide his simmering resentment towards the media over Diego Costa's three-match suspension.

The Blues boss, who risked a Premier League fine for avoiding media duties either side of last weekend's draw with Manchester City, was unhappy with the portrayal of a challenge between Costa and Liverpool's Emre Can, which resulted in the Chelsea striker's ban.

Asked why he had not spoken to the media since immediately after advancing to the Capital One Cup final at Liverpool's expense on January 27, Mourinho said: "Because if you (the media) want, you can make a silence very noisy. Depends what you want to do.

"You could make noise with my silence, because you know the reason for my silence. It depends on you. If I was a journalist I could make from silence, lots of words."

Mourinho in December spoke of a "clear campaign" against his side.

He was fined £25,000 the day after the Liverpool win for those comments.

Asked if the reason for his absence was because of Costa's suspension, which continues at Aston Villa on Saturday, Mourinho, who chose not to discuss the incident, said: "Not just (Costa's ban). I don't reflect. Maybe I'm punished to reflect.

"Maybe they (football's authorities) can read my reflection and (that) I don't want."

Managers are required to speak before and after matches under Premier League broadcast regulations.

Mourinho, who often wears a smile but did not on Friday, added: "You know why I'm here so you cannot expect that I'm super happy to be here."

Mourinho responded "yes" when asked if he was in attendance because he was required to be.

He risks a fine from the Premier League for his absence, although possibly not as big a financial penalty as the one which he would likely have been subjected to had he spoken around the City clash.

"You know the only surprise I had in relation to that was to be punished when I was pushed by another manager (Arsenal's Arsene Wenger)," Mourinho said.

"Apart from that I can expect everything."

Mourinho hardly had the demeanour of the manager of the Premier League leaders, who are five points clear of defending champions City with 15 games to go.

"I feel the distance could be much bigger," he said.

"If I analysed - which I'm not going to do - the last five, six, seven matches, we could, we should have a bigger difference."

The first question Mourinho faced was about deadline-day signing Juan Cuadrado, who could make his Chelsea debut at Aston Villa after arriving on a day when Andre Schurrle left for Wolfsburg and Mohamed Salah moved to the Colombia forward's former club Fiorentina on loan.

Asked how excited he was about Cuadrado, one of the stars of last summer's World Cup, Mourinho said: "Normal."

He added: "I don't think it's the best thing for him that I speak about expectations. He needs his time, as does everyone.

"It's a reaction to Schurrle's departure, but it's not a panic buy, because he's a player we know for a long, long time."

On the prospect of Cuadrado's debut, Mourinho said: "I think he can (play) unless the Premier League or the FA say some rules stop him from playing."

Schurrle won the World Cup with Germany but struggled to break into the Chelsea first team in his 18 months at Stamford Bridge.

Yet the Blues still made a profit reportedly in the region of £8million on Schurrle as part of an overall transfer window profit.

"Schurrle is a player we like very, very much, but the business was very good and we are happy with it," Mourinho added.

"We are happy with the profit we did in this transfer window and hopefully we made him a better player.

"Hopefully he can have success in the future, because we like him very, very much."

Costa - not spoken of by name by Mourinho, who said "the player who is suspended is suspended" - is joined in missing the trip to Birmingham by left-back Filipe Luis (calf).

Playmaker Cesc Fabregas is fit following a hamstring problem which saw him miss the City clash.

Mourinho could be tempted to restore Petr Cech in goal after Thibaut Courtois' uncharacteristic mistake in the build-up to Manchester City's equaliser last Saturday, while Kurt Zouma is again likely to start in defence ahead of Gary Cahill.

Mourinho is bidding for a first win at Villa Park - one of only two Premier League grounds, along with Newcastle's St James' Park, where he is yet to triumph.

Asked the reason for the winless record, he said: "Because the opponents score more goals than us and sometimes the same number of goals as us."

He refused to speak about Villa or their manager Paul Lambert, who declined the offer of a handshake towards the end of September's contest at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho was sent off on his last trip to Villa Park in another squabble with officialdom.

He added: "I learn nothing that I don't learn before that. There are matches where it's impossible to win and you have to be smart enough to understand that."

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