Stand up or be stood down the Mourinho message to his players

Chelsea head coach Jose Mourinho says he will judge his plqayers on performance alone, not on ‘status, words, interviews, agents, parents or friends, not things in the press or on Twitter’. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Chelsea head coach Jose Mourinho says he will judge his plqayers on performance alone, not on ‘status, words, interviews, agents, parents or friends, not things in the press or on Twitter’. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire

 


Jose Mourinho has delivered a blunt answer to one of the most pressing questions about his job at Chelsea this season: how can he keep such a large and talented squad happy when everyone wants regular action? His response is it is not his problem; it is up to the players to excel on the pitch.

Stand out or be stood down: that is the simple challenge he set his players when he called the squad together on Thursday for the first time since the international break and the late transfer window acquisitions of striker Samuel Eto’o and midfielder Willian, both available for selection against Everton this evening.

Mourinho’s decision to restrict Juan Mata to 65 minutes of action this season has already shown the tumultuous three years the manager endured at Real Madrid has not discouraged him from making unpopular selection.


Honest way
“I don’t know if I will keep them happy or not,” said Mourinho. “But I am happy because I have so many good players and because, whether doing well or wrong, I do it in an honest way.

“The way to do it in an honest way is to let them speak on the pitch. I will judge on the pitch. I will not judge on status, words, interviews, agents, parents or friends, not things in the press or on Twitter or something. I will let football speak and football decide.”

He gave an indication of the ruthlessness of his planned meritocracy when he replied to a Belgian journalist’s question as to whether Kevin De Bruyne would play more than 20 matches this season.

“If he doesn’t play 20 matches, it’s because he doesn’t deserve it. If he deserves it, he will. You speak to him and put pressure on him, tell him: ‘Hey kid, you have to be the man of the match.’”

As for Mata, the Portuguese said the club’s outstanding player of the last two seasons is not being alienated and can still play a significant role.

“He’s in the same plans as are all the others. He’s a player I trust a lot and will fight for positions like everybody else ... The squad is good, it is competitive and, with so many matches coming every three days, sometimes I will make strange decisions in your eyes but sometimes I think about the matches that are coming and leave an important player out of selection because I want to have him at his level for the next match.

“I want the players to think only about the next match but I have to think further than that as a manager.”

Mourinho intimated Eto’o is likely to feature against Everton and explained the role he foresees the Cameroon veteran playing .

“We are not a physical, direct team any more. We are a team that wants to use the qualities of our attacking players in a different way.

“Technically, Eto’o is very good, his movement is very intelligent and he has this natural appetite for goals, so normally he will score a few goals for us.” –
Guardian service