Moyes to blame for unhappy Rooney, says Mourinho

Mourinho throws first barb in new rivalry

David Moyes (right) passes on final instructions to Wayne Rooney (left) at the Liberty Stadium. Photograph:  Michael Steele/Getty Images

David Moyes (right) passes on final instructions to Wayne Rooney (left) at the Liberty Stadium. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images


There was a moment – classic Jose Mourinho – when someone asked whether it was true, that he had wanted to manage Manchester United before Sir Alex Ferguson decided David Moyes was the better man for the job. Mourinho has always attempted to deny it.

Now he tried to find another way of expressing himself and it came out in the form of song. Blue Day is the title, written by Suggs for the 1997 FA Cup final and still pumped around Stamford Bridge before Chelsea’s home games. Mourinho offered only a few words but enough to make his point. “Chelsea! Chelsea!”

He has always been a dab hand at deflecting awkward questions.

‘Biggest club in the world’
Someone pointed out that a man of his achievement would have been an ideal fit for the “biggest club in the world” and he smiled at that description. “Chelsea,” he said, cutting off the question.

Mourinho’s relationship with Moyes is probably best filed as one to watch. There was a brief spat in 2006 when Mourinho accused Andy Johnson of diving and Everton threatened to report Chelsea’s manager to the Football Association. Yet Mourinho backed down on that one and Moyes sent him a letter wishing him good luck when he left Chelsea the following year.

Beyond that, there isn’t a great deal more.

The man Ferguson picked to replace him, despite an admirable record at Goodison and some impressive results, in particular against Manchester City, did not win a single game at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, Anfield or the Emirates in 44 attempts.

How seriously Mourinho wanted the United job, or whether it actually matters now, is another point, and there are people at Chelsea who consider it irrelevant now he is winning matches again for their club. It does, however, offer some insight into the Mourinho-Moyes dynamic.

If Mourinho was aggrieved to be overlooked by Ferguson, he has never admitted it. Equally, it is not the biggest leap of logic to think someone with his ego would be put out when he puts his CV against the man Ferguson and United considered superior.

First barbs
Or that it is any surprise we are starting to see the first barbs aimed at Moyes.

At Mourinho’s latest conference he was asked whether, after trying to lure Wayne Rooney, he expected a hostile reception at Old Trafford. “Why?” he replied, with exaggerated innocence. “They are against me? But I didn’t say [to Rooney] you will be a second choice for me.” A pause. “And they are against me?”

Sometimes with Mourinho it is best to ask him what he is getting at. Was he actually saying it was Moyes’s fault Rooney wanted to leave? “Of course,” he replied. The headlines were written. It was a fairly transparent attempt to undermine Moyes. A distortion of events, too, when everyone involved knows Rooney’s exit plan pre-dates the arrival of the new manager.