Jose Mourinho voiced his frustration at the Premier League’s decision to have Chelsea play Liverpool on Satuday lunchtime, despite that fact that the Anfield side will have an extra day to prepare as they faced Real Madrid on Tuesday in their Champions League match.
Speaking at the press conference ahead of the trip to Maribor, Mourinho appeared exasperated at the fixture timings set by the broadcasters for Saturday. The situation is further complicated by the fact that both Arsenal and Manchester City have their kick-offs on Saturday evening, and not lunch-time, thus giving them extra time off.
“I know but what do you want me to do?” he said. “What can I say? They are not listening, of course not. I did not bother asking about changing the game.”
“They know what they do and they laugh because I can’t do nothing,” he said at the time. “It is the people that decide the fixtures. I don’t know who they are.”
Mourinho also took a dig at Liverpool’s team selection for the trip to Madrid after boss Brendan Rodgers left out several key first-team members against Real to concentrate on the game against Chelsea on Saturday.
“If one day I go to a game and I don’t feel I can win, maybe I don’t go,” he said before kick-off at the Bernabéu. “So, normally, against the most difficult opponents, I will try to go with my best team.”
“But who knows? Liverpool might play a fantastic match and win and rest players and the players are in great condition to play against Chelsea. In this case it might be a genius decision. In football it is difficult to comment.”
Turning his attention to the game on hand, Mourinho cautioned his team against being complacent against Maribor on Wednesday, a team that they beat 6-0 only a couple of weeks ago.
“I have to focus and make the players focus on Maribor’s other two games, their 1-1 draws with Schalke and Sporting, and make them understand we won 6-0 because we played very well, destroyed them in the first half and gave them no chance because of our very strong attitude,” said Mourinho.
“I have to make them understand that, because seven points is not enough. We have to get maybe 12 points to win the group, maybe 10 to qualify. We have to dispute the first spot in the group. It is not fundamental, but it gives us a better chance [in the knockout phase].
“I do rotate. I did not play some players at Shrewsbury in the Capital One Cup last week, and Cahill did not play against Maribor when Zouma did. The strikers are rotating because of injury. It was just last week where Oscar, Filipe Luis and Cahill played all three games because we do try to leave players out. Terry does not play in the national team so, when the international break comes, he has his rest. We are controlling it. He does not need many other rests during our competition.”
Post the game against QPR, Mourinho came under fire from the fans after he criticised the atmosphere and vocal support at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho took some time to reflect on the criticism and insisted that his love for the club should not be questioned despite his complaints about the noise levels.
“Everybody at Chelsea knows how much I love the club,” said Mourinho
“How much I want it to improve and how much I want to be part of the club in the future. Everybody knows [this]. Even a moment of criticism has to be analysed with the eyes of somebody who knows why I came back to Chelsea and why I’m here with my heart, and why I want to stay for a long time.
“I am just somebody who loves football a lot. I love my job. I am lucky to do my job in the club I like so much and feel such a connection and maybe that makes me lead the club with a different emotion. If I do it in a professional way and concentrate only on training and selection, it is because this is not, for me, just a job. It is more than that, because it’s Chelsea.
“Maybe I go a little bit too far. But I see myself in the stands, watching Chelsea and I want to play, I want to help. If I’m not a player I cannot play, if I’m not a coach I cannot make decisions. If I’m just a fan what can I do to help? That’s just my view.”