Monday 23 October 2017

Jose Mourinho lashes out at 'sad' people

Jose Mourinho reacts to questions during a press conference in London yesterday
Jose Mourinho reacts to questions during a press conference in London yesterday

Matt Law and Chris Bascombe

Jose Mourinho has claimed he cannot understand why people inside and outside football are "excited" about the prospect of him being sacked, even though the Portuguese insisted he is not worried about his job as Chelsea manager.

Despite his personal confidence, Mourinho will be fighting to remain in his position if his team lose a sixth Premier League game of the season, against Liverpool today.

The pressure on Mourinho has built since last week's defeat at West Ham and the 52-year-old believes there are managers, players and officials, as well as numerous critics in the media, who are enjoying his struggles.

But Mourinho is adamant he has always known what really matters in his life and answered questions about the health of his father, Jose Manuel Mourinho Felix, who suffered a brain haemorrhage and two strokes in April.

On his Chelsea future, Mourinho said: "What I'd like to understand is why some people can be so excited and happy with the perspective of somebody losing his job. If you tell me your newspaper is going to sack 20 people, first of all I will be worried for you. I promise you. You have a good relationship here.

"And, secondly, I would be very disappointed even if I don't know the other 20 guys who are going to be sacked. But this [management] is the only job where people get excited at that. It's sad.

"The Brendan (Rodgers) situation, he was almost winning the Premier League. He was the manager of the year and suddenly people were really happy and working hard until he was sacked. It's strange. I don't belong to this world. I'm too emotional.

"I hate people losing jobs. Not in football, but in everything."

When it was put to Mourinho that it was people inside football, and not just outside the game, who are "excited" about the thought of him losing his job, the Portuguese replied: "Oh yes, for sure. But I'm not worried about that at all. I don't spend one second of my day thinking about it. I'm worried about the results.

"I'm worried about winning on Saturday, about qualifying for the next round of the Champions League. I am worried about recovering positions in the table and to go back to where Chelsea normally has to be.

"I'm not worried about my job, my future, about anything other than that.

"And it looks like you want to put a lot of pressure on me in relation to that, where you can't do it"

Striker Diego Costa has shaken off a rib injury in time to face Liverpool, while Mourinho is poised to bring back Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic and Cesar Azpilicueta, who all missed the defeat by Stoke in midweek.

The Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, backed Mourinho after the defeat by Southampton, but has sacked seven managers during his 12-year Stamford Bridge reign.

Mourinho refused to reveal whether he had spoken to Abramovich in the build-up to the Liverpool game, but said: "You were very critical of my owner when he made these decisions [to sack managers]. You were very critical. And now you want to push him for the decision you've criticised. But this is not my problem."

Jurgen Klopp took a break from football before accepting the Liverpool job, but sympathised with Mourinho's predicament with a reminder from personal experience that even the greatest of sides can suffer an incomprehensible slump.

A year ago the 'what's going wrong?' investigations were focused on Borussia Dortmund, as Klopp's triumphant Bundesliga side found themselves in the relegation zone.


Klopp's self-belief remained, but he admits his mood darkened.

"To be at Dortmund in January to be in 18th position - it was not the best thing, there was nothing to laugh about," said Klopp. "But it's work, and if it's work you can rule it. It's not war. You can work to change things and that's what we did.

"I feel better when we win. Life is better, of course. But I don't think that in my life the sun always has to shine. It's normal that we have to work for what we want.

"I had a responsibility to the Dortmund supporters and players. If people didn't understand our problems, then I didn't care.

"You have to rule your own situation. I wasn't interested in what was being said in public. Sometimes you don't get the time to change things between matches. That's the only problem.

"Mourinho isn't a worse coach than last year, the players aren't worse than last year, that's for sure. They play their style, last year there was always [Gary] Cahill there to make the block. Small things can make a big difference. That's the big challenge for them at the moment. Things happen. I'm not too interested in his situation but I see it.

"I feel for him because I had something similar but it's not the end of the world. They can still play football and that's our problem.

"It's difficult to compare [with Dortmund] because they are very different situations. We had so many injuries. We didn't have a proper pre-season because of the World Cup."

Klopp last faced Mourinho in the 2012-'13 Champions League, both in the group stages and semi-final. His Dortmund side finished above Real Madrid in the group, with a win in Germany and draw in Spain. In the last four a 4-1 home win secured a 4-3 aggregate success.

"My memories of that game aren't the worst," said Klopp. "It's a good example of football. We played well but (Robert) Lewandowski was outstanding.

"I'm not sure that all four of his goals were even chances. He did it by himself, taking the ball and doing what he did.

"You need something like that to beat a team like Real Madrid. We knew we weren't in the final because we had to play in Madrid and it was really difficult there. We needed a bit of luck of course but it was one of the better moments in my life, for sure, although what has a bigger place in my memories is what happened against Malaga [when Dortmund scored twice in injury time to get through to the semi-final]."

The coaches are sure to be in close proximity this afternoon given their preference for patrolling the technical area.

"He is emotional and I am emotional," said Klopp, who has Christian Benteke back in his squad. "It's a natural thing. I try to get better at everything I do but it's not easy to cool down during a game. If I'm doing this job when I'm 70, I hope I will be calmer.

"Many of the biggest coaches in the world spend all 90 minutes sat on the bench watching a game.

"I would like to but it's not possible for me. I only do this because I want to help - no other reason."

Mourinho said yesterday that he is not interested in taking a leaf out of Klopp's book and taking time off, having spent a frustrating eight-month spell out of work when he last lost his Chelsea job.

He said: "I enjoyed it until December. That was fine. But I was in trouble in January. I couldn't wait for the next job."

While his professional problems have been well documented, Mourinho has chosen to keep the ill health of his 77-year-old father private.

Rather than bringing up the subject himself yesterday, Mourinho was specifically asked about how hard he has found it to make trips back to Portugal to be with his father.

"My father is winning his fight," said Mourinho. "And he's winning in a very secure way. He went to levels where nobody would expect,

"I think he's a bit of a fighter. It has had a positive impact on me [emotionally]. The negative impact was in the last period of last season, when everything happened, and the negative period - the really negative period - took him until, I would say, September. But the last few months, the evolution is amazing.

"So if there is any consequence of that, it's just positive. All the family is happy. And in this moment I don't go to Portugal any more. My wife does that for me."

With his father now out of hospital and at home, Mourinho added: "I know what life is and I know that, in the end, what matters is the family. The family and my family is top, and I am strong."

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