Mourinho ponders role reversal

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Published: Saturday 18th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Jose Mourinho suggested he would have been given a stadium ban had he been the perpetrator, rather than the victim, of Arsene Wenger’s push.

The Chelsea boss was pushed firmly in the chest by the Arsenal manager during the Premier League leaders’ 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge earlier this month as Wenger’s winless run against his nemesis extended to 12 games.

The Football Association took no further action as the touchline fracas, which came after Gary Cahill’s foul on Alexis Sanchez, was witnessed and dealt with by the match officials.

Mourinho, who has a history of falling foul of disciplinary regulations, did not expect Wenger to be punished, but believes he would have been had the roles been reversed.

“No, I’m not surprised,” Mourinho, whose side play Crystal Palace on Saturday, said. “I’m not surprised.”

When asked if he felt he would have been charged had he pushed a rival manager, a smiling Mourinho said: “Charged? Charged? Or stadium ban?”

It was the second successive home game in which Mourinho had irked rival coaching staff after Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert and his assistant Roy Keane expressed their annoyance when a handshake was offered by the Portuguese prior to the end of their side’s 3-0 loss.

Lambert and Keane declined, with both expressing their annoyance towards Mourinho in the last 10 days.

Keane, who labelled Mourinho’s behaviour “disgraceful”, was scathing in his criticism, saying: “The game is still going on. You wouldn’t do that on a Sunday morning, you would get knocked out.”

Lambert agreed when asked this week if he felt Mourinho was “disrespectful” by not waiting until the end of the match for the handshake.

Mourinho added: “I don’t comment. I’d prefer not to comment.

“I don’t know if he (Keane) really feels it, or if he wants to sell books and needs my help for that. I don’t know.

“I know my nature, I know my intentions.”

Mourinho, with a sarcastic tone, added: “But, from people like him and his boss, I think I have a lot to learn about how to behave and I appreciate the comment.”

Asked if he would do it again, Mourinho responded “yes”, before responding “no” when asked if he could understand why someone would be upset by his actions.

He refused to comment when asked to respond over suggestions the action was arrogant.

Chelsea have a number of fitness concerns ahead of the trip to Selhurst Park.

Diego Costa, Ramires (groin), Didier Drogba (ankle), Andre Schurrle (illness) and John Obi Mikel (undisclosed) will be assessed prior to the match.

Costa’s fragile hamstrings have been the subject of much debate, but it is unclear what the latest issue is.

The £32million signing from Atletico Madrid, who has scored nine goals in seven Premier League games, reported to Chelsea’s Surrey training base on Monday morning despite having been told to take two days off and return to training on Wednesday afternoon.

Asked if Costa was reporting for treatment, Mourinho said: “No comments.”

Mourinho told the Daily Telegraph he would not hesitate to commit his long-term future to the club were he offered a new contract.

“I (would) sign tomorrow,” he said. “That’s what I want.

“I want to stay in Chelsea and English football because I think I won the right. Unfortunately, Chelsea’s not my club. I depend on the club and I depend on the results.”

The Blues have made a strong start to the Premier League season, taking a five-point lead over second-placed Manchester City after only seven games.

Mourinho pointed to their improved mental strength as the main difference from last season, when they finished third in the table.

“Last year, I was feeling that we could (win the league) but we were not ready to cope with that pressure,” he said. “We couldn’t cope with certain moments of the game.

“This season we improve footballistically, with Diego and (Cesc) Fabregas, no doubt. We were lucky to have in the market available for us exactly the style of player we need. But what people maybe don’t realise is that the maturity of our team changed a lot.

“I think Man City have everything. I think they have lots of talent and lots of physicality. They have more options than everyone else. They have ‘replicas’ for every position (but) they don’t have young players in the development phase.

“You tell me – if we keep this team, and they keep that team: in five years’ time who is going to be better? I say immediately – us, because in five years I’m going to have (Eden) Hazard, Oscar, Willian, (Cesar) Azpilicueta, (Kurt) Zouma, in the best moment of their careers, and the fantastic players I have now at 28, 29. A fantastic team with lots of solutions.”

Published: Saturday 18th October 2014 by The News Editor

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