Jose Mourinho could always have had Paris

Chelsea manager admits that he was tempted by PSG project as Diego Costa returns

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho at a training session ahead of the Champions League last 16 match against Paris St Germain. Photograph:  Tony O’Brien/Action Images via Reuters/Livepic

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho at a training session ahead of the Champions League last 16 match against Paris St Germain. Photograph: Tony O’Brien/Action Images via Reuters/Livepic

 

The latest France Football has a picture of Jose Mourinho on the cover and a headline of L’Emmerdeur that, to be kind, is a way of describing the Chelsea manager as a pain in the neck.

In a more literal translation – and the compliment is repeated inside in the form of “l’emmerdeur professionnel” – the most respected football magazine in France has just renamed the Special One as “the Shit Stirrer”.

Welcome to Paris, Jose. Mourinho recalled: “I know the PSG project well because when they started this project, with the owner, the president and Leonardo, I was to be the coach. I met them in Qatar but I was with Real Madrid . . . It was not the right moment for me.”

It was clear, though, that he had been tempted and the thought did occur that PSG might have made a better fist of the Champions League if they had managed to recruit a manager who, to use a slightly more respectful line from France Football’s coverage, makes “your fingers tremble just writing his name”.

“The project was to start dominating in France and to dominate in Europe,” Mourinho explained. “The domination in France is there. . . Paris is a big team with big ambitions.”

Last season

Edinson CavaniEzequiel Lavezzi

Ten months on Chelsea have Diego Costa and will surely be stronger for it even if Mourinho made the point his leading scorer might not be entirely sharp on his return from a three-match suspension. “A long rest is not good for him. A little rest is welcome for everyone; a big rest isn’t good for the players. So we are not going to see the best Diego.”

Mourinho also revealed Cesc Fabregas had been suffering from a bug while Oscar and Willian were still feeling slight injuries. These seemed relatively minor issues when Laurent Blanc was reflecting on the fallout of “a catastrophe at the weekend”.

That was the 2-2 draw against Caen when PSG lost four players to injury, blowing a two-goal lead and ending the game with nine players. Serge Aurier, Yohan Cabaye and Lucas Moura are definite absentees, with doubts surrounding Javier Pastore, Marquinhos, Thiago Motta, Maxwell and Blaise Matuidi.

There is no doubt the mood inside the PSG camp felt slightly downbeat. David Luiz reflected that the crowd at Parc des Princes had seemed “asleep” recently.

Blanc was prickly with the local media and, taking a risk, he also said he was not entirely happy with Ibrahimovic celebrating his goal on Saturday by removing his shirt, trying to raise awareness for the World Food Programme, and showing a number of removable tattoos bearing the names of people suffering from hunger.

As for “L’Emmerdeur”, we will have to see whether Mourinho lives up to Blanc’s prediction that he will find a way to “raise the temperature”. Blanc’s message to his players was to ignore any provocation and be “cold, calm. They mustn’t react, even when it is hot out there.” Guardian Service

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