Jose Mourinho keeps counsel on AVB relationship

Chelsea manager sees Spurs as genuine rival for Premier League title after squad additions

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho refused to comment on his relationship with Andre Villas-Boas, once an ally and now a rival, ahead of the London derby with Tottenham on Saturday.

Villas-Boas worked for Mourinho at Porto, Inter Milan and Chelsea but the friendship has broken down, with the Spurs boss insisting it is no longer a concern ahead of the first contest between the pair as managers.

Mourinho said: “I don’t describe (the relationship), because I’m not a kid to discuss relationships with the media. It’s a personal thing.

“I don’t care what he says. I’m here, not to comment on what he says or what to know what he says. I’m not interested.”


However, there was an awkward conclusion to his pre-match media conference when Mourinho was asked if the "spirit" of Bobby Robson, cited by both men as a mentor, would be at White Hart Lane.

Mourinho said: “Why? Where (did) he work with Andre?”

Mourinho was repeatedly asked about Villas-Boas, but time and again refused to respond to his inquisitors.

“It’s enough from me,” Mourinho added. “I have nothing to say, nothing at all. I’m not discussing here in front of you. For me there is no point.

“I’m not disappointed. I’m just here to speak about anything you want related to the game, not related to this situation.”

Mourinho, aged 50, is 15 years the senior of Villas-Boas, who had an unhappy nine-month spell in charge of Chelsea after leading Porto to a Portuguese League and Cup double, as well as the Europa League title.

The Chelsea boss insists he is open with all his assistants and that it is up to them whether they learn from his methods.

When they come into direct opposition, Mourinho insisted, it is important to be professional, like he was in the 2010 Champions League final, when his Inter side beat Luis van Gaal's Bayern Munich.

“I’ve had so many assistants in my career,” said Mourinho, who worked with Van Gaal at Barcelona. “I was always an open book to all of them. I am an open book, after that if they want to read the book, or not, it’s their problem, not my problem.”

Asked if he will meet with Villas-Boas, perhaps over a glass of Portuguese red wine, following Saturday’s match, Mourinho insisted he would not turn an invitation down.

“When people invite me, I always go,” he said. “I never refuse.”

Mourinho believes Tottenham are one of five teams who will challenge Chelsea for the Barclays Premier League title.

The Blues boss thinks Spurs are stronger this term after investing the money from Gareth Bale's world record move to Real Madrid wisely.

“I think they are a big contender,” Mourinho said. “They were the champions of the market, all of them international players with quality.

“When I analyse Tottenham as an opponent, I think they have a much better squad now than they had the season before.

“They have a much better squad and because you win titles with squads - you don’t win titles with an especially good player - I think they are much more contenders than they were before.”

Chelsea are seeking just a second away win of the season, the first coming on Tuesday night in the Capital One Cup at Swindon. That win came at a cost, with injuries to midfielders Ramires and Marco van Ginkel.

Mourinho will wait to determine if Ramires can shrug off a hip injury sustained in the first half at the County Ground. The Brazilian had replaced Van Ginkel, who is out for six months after undergoing knee surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

The Dutchman is unlikely to play again this season, particularly as his anticipated return coincides with the sharp end of the campaign, and his World Cup hopes appear to be over.

Mourinho said: “The surgery went well. The doctor is happy with the way the surgery went. Now he has to wait and he has to wait for a long time. It’s very sad for a kid that was going into an important season for his development.

“Five months, six months, is a long time. To be back when the season is hot and when the clubs are playing crucial matches, to be back directly for that, we don’t know.”

Juan Mata played at Swindon, tasked with showing a willingness to track back which means he comes into contention.

“The last (Premier League) match against Fulham he was not selected,” Mourinho said. “If he keeps working that way (like at Swindon), adapting to my way of

thinking, the football I want the team to play, the natural tendency is the opposite one, to be in the team.”