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Instability at Chelsea could force me to leave, says Mourinho|
Sid Lowe in Madrid
Friday April 13, 2007
Jose Mourinho appears to have launched a charm offensive with the Spanish press after granting a four-page interview with the Madrid-based sports daily Marca, which he used to bemoan Chelsea's predicament as a club "not at peace".
It is known that Mourinho is highly regarded at Real Madrid and the interview's timing is interesting given the uncertainty over his position at Chelsea. He reiterated the remarks he made to Spanish reporters earlier in the week in which he stated he would like to coach a club in Europe if he cannot remain at Stamford Bridge beyond this season.
He also launched a thinly veiled attack on Roman Abramovich's failure to back him, likening the lack of stability at Stamford Bridge to the institutional crisis that has seen Real Madrid go three seasons without a trophy. Those comments will only deepen the gulf that has opened up between Mourinho and Abramovich, who have not spoken for months.
The interview functioned primarily as a vindication of his achievements in England, with Mourinho insisting he wants to continue at Chelsea but entertaining the possibility of a summer departure.
And while the newspaper dubbed Mourinho "the anti-Barça coach who sees in white" and focused on the inevitable platitudes in which he agreed that "it would be an honour to coach Madrid" and that "Madrid can still win the league," more telling were the remarks made about his current employers.
Asked why Madrid have suffered their longest run without a trophy in half a century, he did not pass up the opportunity to draw parallels with Chelsea, insisting that he has been successful against the odds at Stamford Bridge and hinting darkly at a bleak future without him. "It is harder to work and to achieve results for a club that is not at peace," Mourinho said. "I could liken Real Madrid's situation with England, with that of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool compared to Chelsea."
"At Manchester United, there is tranquillity; Arsenal will not win anything this year but they also live in peace and without any doubts over their future; the same can be said for Liverpool. By contrast, the other day I was calculating the number of coaches who have been named as Chelsea's new manager for next season. We're up to 13. The latest was Mark Hughes, who appeared last week. If you want to win, the coach needs to be strong, the players need to be strong, the whole group needs to be strong, with the players 100% behind their manager."
"My work is with the players. I don't want to talk about my relationship with Abramovich," he added. "The work I have done at Chelsea over the last three years has to be classed as historic and this season has been the best of them all. What we have had to overcome is incredible. Cech has had to have two operations, Terry has had two very serious injuries, both of which needed operating on, Robben, two or three, Essien likewise. And despite everything, look where we are: in the semi-finals of the Champions League, the semi-final of the FA Cup, we've won the League Cup, and we can still win the Premiership, where we're just three points behind the leaders."
Mourinho insisted: "I have a contract until 2010 and I want to continue at Chelsea. It would be an honour to coach Madrid but it is not something I want to think about now. If my name is linked to Madrid it's not because I have done anything to make that happen. Chelsea is a club I love, one where I want to continue."
"But," Mourinho added, "if I have to leave for some reason or because someone wants me to leave, then that's life in football. If I leave, I want to work at another European club. I like English football and it would be nice to work at another Premiership club but not now. I will not even contemplate leaving Chelsea and going straight to another English club. That would be very strange - and it's something I don't want to happen."
The long goodbye
After drawing twice at home in the space of five December days, against Fulham and Reading, Jose Mourinho lamented injuries to key players, including John Terry and Petr Cech. The club let it be known that they expected more from a manager who had brought in seven players at a cost of over £60m in the summer. Half of that was on the underperforming Andriy Shevchenko, widely seen as Roman Abramovich's purchase. Despite having no central defenders available, Chelsea failed to back the manager's wish to reinforce in the January window. A succession of names surfaced as possible replacements for Mourinho who has himself been linked with Real Madrid. Abramovich, who has missed several matches, said he and Mourinho 'do not have friendly relations but they are warm enough'. Mourinho has repeatedly stressed he wants to see out his contract which runs to 2010 but in early March said that if the club disagreed he would 'walk away a millionaire'. After the victory in Valencia he reiterated his desire to stay but added that 'sometimes what you want in life doesn't happen'.
[ Last edited by barcelona at 2007-4-13 11:28 AM ]