Sunday 25 February 2018

Jose Mourinho: 'I will never walk away from Chelsea'

Chelsea manager insists he will not leave

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois’ injury is a major blow
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois’ injury is a major blow

Jason Burt

Jose Mourinho has insisted he will never "walk away" from Chelsea under "any circumstance".

The Chelsea manager admitted he was "not happy" but related this only to his team's poor start to the season - the worst, Mourinho claimed, that he had endured during his glittering career.

Mourinho's comments were in response to questions as to whether parallels could be drawn between Chelsea's stuttering beginning to this campaign - one win in four Premier League matches - and when he left the club in September 2007.

This time there has been a dissatisfaction with some of the transfer dealings - Mourinho did not land the players he wanted such as John Stones, who he will face when Chelsea play Everton at Goodison Park today - and pinch points around the club.

There were similarities eight years ago, albeit with greater amplification, personality clashes and a far more enveloping sense of crisis, but Mourinho flatly rejected any attempt at a comparison.

"Let's be objective," he said. "I don't want to leave the club, in any circumstances. And the club doesn't want me to leave. I'm not going to walk away. The club is not going to sack me.

"Look, when I was here in 2007, I had two things in my mind. Go to Spain (with Real Madrid) and go to Italy (with Inter Milan), just to give you an example. Today, I was in Spain and I was in Italy, I don't want to go back.

"I want to stay here. That's enough. That makes a difference. Mr Abramovich in 2007, in his football life, if you can say that, he knows only two managers, (Claudio) Ranieri and myself.

"In this moment, he knows, how many, 10? He knows a lot of them. It's a difference too. So there are differences."

Roman Abramovich was at Chelsea's training ground yesterday, still a relatively rare-occurrence, and while it is true that the pair did not "collide" when Mourinho left in 2007, that was mainly because the Russian billionaire was staying away.

After Mourinho departed - sacked or, as he prefers, left by mutual consent - Chelsea had seven managers in six years before the Portuguese returned in 2013, with the implication being that Abramovich has also grown wiser with experience.

Even so, one of the more curious aspects of Chelsea's difficult start, and Mourinho's uncomfortable demeanour, is that the manager signed a new four-year contract only last month.

"I repeat: I stay until Mr Abramovich wants," Mourinho said. "I had a contract that expires in two years' time. And he gave me a contract that expires in four years' time. So it makes a difference.

"If somebody, anyone, thinks that I walk, or I leave the job it's somebody that doesn't know (me). Chelsea fans know me for good and for bad and that's not my profile, to run away from problems, in this case to run away from bad results."

Mourinho did not take a holiday during the international break and, instead redoubled his work effort to improve the results.

"I'm not happy and I'm happy that I'm not happy. The moment I'm happy losing matches then I have changed a lot. And I don't want to change," he said.

"I'm not happy, but I work harder than ever, I'm optimistic, I trust the players, I repeat, the players trust me, I know. So it's not such a hard situation because you feel that better results will arrive.

"We have one problem. We are not getting the results we always expect to get. That's our problem."

However Chelsea's awkward start has been made more difficult by an injury to Thibaut Courtois, who underwent surgery in Barcelona on Thursday after damaging the meniscus in his right knee in training at Cobham.

Chelsea were waiting for an accurate prognosis from their medical director, Paco Biosca, as to how long the goalkeeper will be out, but it is expected to be at least three months.

"It's a big blow but you will not see me speaking again about Thibaut," Mourihno said. " He's injured. It's not easy to have the best goalkeeper in the world injured.

"But it's easy to have one of the best goalkeepers in the world to play. (Asmir) Begovic is very, very good. I'm sad for Thibaut and sad for the team, but we have a top goalkeeper and Begovic will be in goal."

Mourinho refused to be drawn on the latest criticisms by Everton manager Roberto Martinez over Chelsea's attempts to sign Stones.

"What Martinez says for me means nothing and I don't comment," Mourinho said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Everton v Chelsea,

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