July 13, 2005
Mourinho goes on the attack after seeing red
By Russell Kempson
A NEW season approaches, same old José Mourinho. In his first press conference of the 2005-06 campaign yesterday, the outspoken Chelsea manager again raged against the perceived injustices in the world.
Not a ball has been kicked, but Mourinho had clearly been simmering over the summer break. Arsenal, Chelsea’s London rivals, Arsène Wenger, their manager, and David Dein, their vice-chairman, were his chief targets. The attack on Dein was particularly acerbic, Mourinho saying that one man should not simultaneously hold the positions of vice-chairman at a club and the FA.
It had been going swimmingly. Chelsea had unveiled their new centenary home kit and Asier Del Horno, the £8 million recruit from Athletic Bilbao, spoke encouragingly about his new club. But then Mourinho, questioned about Chelsea’s image off the pitch, launched into a tirade about “devils and angels” that ranked alongside the “seagulls and trawlers” rant of Eric Cantona.
Mourinho is enraged by the “tapping-up” scandal involving Ashley Cole, the Arsenal defender, that was resolved last month. Chelsea accepted their punishment, but the appeals of Mourinho and Cole against their fines are to be heard by the FA Premier League this month.
Mourinho sailed close to the wind — and possibly to an FA charge of bringing the game into disrepute — when he said that Arsenal were hardly innocents abroad. He cited reports last week that, during a visit to Brazil a fortnight ago, Wenger had spoken to Júlio Baptista, the Brazil and Seville forward. Seville officials had considered a complaint to Fifa, the sport’s world governing body, but have yet to carry out their threat.
Asked if he was worried about the moral perception of Chelsea, Mourinho said: “No. What concerns me is the way you approach similar situations in a very different way. Because some are treated as devils and some are treated as angels. And I don’t think that we are so ugly to be treated like devils and I don’t think Mr Wenger and Mr David Dein are so beautiful to be treated like angels.
“You know, I went to Brazil on holiday, I didn’t go to Brazil to chase players and speak with players behind the clubs. But when I read the papers, it’s completely different. The devils and the angels.”
Warming to his theme, Mourinho suggested that Arsenal may have received preferential treatment in the allocating of fixtures in the Barclays Premiership. The first five of Arsenal’s six league matches, immediately after they have played in a group game of the Champions League, are at Highbury. In contrast, Chelsea have five away games and against distinctly tougher opponents. “Is José Mourinho the only one who can look at the fixtures and find something very strange?” he said. “You don’t find anything strange in that?
Mourinho suggested that Dein should stand down from his position with the FA. “A person who works in the club shouldn’t work in the FA,” Mourinho said. “The FA is the FA, clubs are clubs. In 2009 or 2010, maybe Mr Dein is not in the FA any more and I can have a different season.” An Arsenal spokesman said last night: “We are aware of the remarks but have no comment.”
Mourinho declined to confirm that Chelsea are in the closing stages of buying Shaun Wright-Phillips, the Manchester City winger, for about £20 million and Michael Essien, the Lyons midfield player, for about £17 million. However, Peter Kenyon, the Chelsea chief executive, was in Lyons yesterday for talks with Jean-Michel Aulas, the French club’s president.
CHELSEA IN A FIX
IGNORING the persecution complex of José Mourinho, he may have a point about Chelsea having a tougher schedule than Arsenal after each of their Champions League group matches. Is the fixtures computer a closet Gooner?
CHELSEA: Charlton (a), Liverpool (a), Everton (a), Manchester United (a), Portsmouth (a), Wigan (h).
ARSENAL: Everton (h), Birmingham (h), Manchester City (h), Sunderland (h), Blackburn Rovers (h), Newcastle (a).