Jose Mourinho makes an impassioned defence of Sunday’s tactics
Chelsea boss reveals he had received a conciliatory telephone call from Brendan Rodgers after the Liverpool manager’s withering assessment
Coach Jose Mourinho oversees a Chelsea training session at Cobham ahead of tonight’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters
Jose Mourinho has made an impassioned defence of his tactics, rounding on the people with “fantastic theories and philosophies” who have criticised Chelsea’s methods, as he prepares to take his team into the second leg of their Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid.
Mourinho revealed he had received a conciliatory telephone call from Brendan Rodgers after the Liverpool manager’s withering assessment about the way Chelsea had fashioned their 2-0 win at Anfield on Sunday. The two managers have made their peace – “now, I think, he understood what happened,” Mourinho said – but the Portuguese remains aggrieved about the scrutiny on his team and said it would be “stupid” for him to set them up in any other way.
“At this moment, football is full of philosophers,” Mourinho said. “People who understand much more than me. People with fantastic theories and philosophies. It’s amazing. But the reality is always the reality. A team that doesn’t defend well doesn’t have many chances to win. A team that doesn’t score lots of goals, if they concede lots of goals, is in trouble. A team without balance is not a team.
“I remember in my first period here, if you have a goalkeeper like Petr Cech who puts the ball in the opponents’ box, and a striker like Didier Drogba who wins everything in the air, why play short? Because you are stupid?
“If your opponents are very fast on the counter and want space behind your defensive line, if you give them that space you are stupid.”
Rodgers had accused Chelsea of deliberate time-wasting and “parking two buses instead of just one”, adding that he would never let Liverpool employ the same kind of tactics and that it was not difficult to coach a team that level of negativity.
“Brendan is a manager and somebody I consider my friend,” Mourinho said. “I met him a long time ago when he was a very young coach, coaching kids, and I consider him a friend. Of course I know his words after the match, but I also know his words today.
“He told me congratulations for a great victory and a great performance. So, specially because I consider him a friend and someone I like, I prefer to forget the words after the match and keep today’s word. He’s an intelligent guy. He watched the match on video and now I think he understood what happened.”
After the goalless draw at the Vicente Calderon last week, Chelsea will be trying to reach a final against Real Madrid, Mourinho’s former club. John Terry has recovered from his ankle injury ahead of schedule to resume his place in defence, meaning Ashley Cole is likely to drop back to the bench. Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto’o are fit again but Petr Cech will miss the game despite making a surprise appearance in training, only a week after dislocating a shoulder.
Terry, according to Mourinho, is “playing at the same level as when I left Chelsea in 2007” and the former England player hopes his form will lead to the club matching his financial requirements with a new deal. “It’s the club I’ve been at since 14, I’ve been nowhere else and I want to stay here for the rest of my footballing days,” Terry said.