Jurgen Klopp brings bad memories for Mourinho

Chelsea manager runs out of patience on topic of Liverpool’s newly arrived German

José Mourinho: his team have  only one win in seven match. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

José Mourinho: his team have only one win in seven match. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

 

José Mourinho’s reluctance to discuss all things Jurgen Klopp was obvious from the outset. The Chelsea manager had spent his week besieged by talk of crisis, with his ailing champions languishing closer to those in the Premier League’s relegation zone than the European places. In that grim context it was always fanciful to assume he might linger at length on a rival whose team had so ruthlessly put his own to the sword the last time a campaign had been squirming away from the Portuguese.

There were a few platitudes in praise of the German before he railed at one question too many. “I’m not going to speak more about Jurgen,” he offered through a monotone. “I’ve said enough.”

Helpless

There was no spite in that response but this was no time to be reflecting on that game at Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion on April 24th 2013 when Mourinho’s Real Madrid had reached the point of no return. Robert Lewandowski’s four goals flew beyond a helpless Diego Lopez to condemn the visiting manager to what remains his worst defeat in the competition.

At least Klopp is not bringing that Dortmund side with him to south-west London this lunchtime. Even so, rarely can a contest that pits the teams currently loitering in ninth and 15th have felt so potentially seismic. While the German’s enthusiasm dazzles across Merseyside, Mourinho finds himself under scrutiny like never before.

There is a reluctance within the hierarchy to go down that well-trodden road of mid-season sackings but, for all that performances have perked up in the past fortnight, a record of one win in seven matches does not yet suggest a recovery in progress. Mourinho has his own issues with the criticism aimed at him this term and the perceived “excitement” at the prospect of him losing his job.

“It’s sad,” said Mourinho. “Look at Brendan Rodgers’ situation. He was the manager of the season [with Liverpool in 2013-14] and, suddenly, people were really happy and working hard until he was sacked. I don’t belong to that world. I hate people losing their jobs but I’m not worried about that at all. Not at all. I don’t spend one second of my day thinking about it. I’m worried about the results, about winning against Liverpool, about qualifying for the next round of the Champions League, about recovering our position in the table, about getting Chelsea back to where we normally have to be. I’m not worried about my job, my future. I’m not worried. I’m not worried. It looks like people want to put a lot of pressure on me but they can’t. They can’t do it. They can’t do it.”

By the end, the constant references to a lack of concern suggested something very different. Mourinho is a manager working under almost unbearable strain.

It has shown, not least with the fury he has flung so regularly at the Football Association and officialdom over recent weeks. Yesterday the various disciplinary issues he is contesting did not provoke comment. Instead, when Mourinho spoke of being “a fighter” he was not referring to himself.

Rewind to April 29th and Chelsea’s victory at Leicester, a win that left them on the brink of the league title, and Mourinho had learned post-match that his father, José Sr, had undergone surgery relating to a brain haemorrhage.

Doubtful

“He had two strokes as a consequence of the surgery,” said Mourinho. “He went to levels where it was very doubtful and difficult. But, in the last few months, the evolution and recovery has been amazing. He’s almost ready to play.” That was said through a smile.

The club’s attitude to Chelsea’s toils this season have, in some small part, been shaped by sympathy for the personal issues Mourinho and his family have gone through.

His father’s progress and return home must be a weight off the manager’s mind. “I know what life is about and I know that, in the end, what matters is family. We are a strong family. My father is winning his fight. I think he’s a bit of a fighter.”

As is his son. Guardian Service

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.