ISTANBUL (AFP) – Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho on Tuesday vented his fury following the broadcast of comments he made ‘off the record’ about striker Samuel Eto’o, as the Premier League club prepared to face Galatasaray in the Champions League.
The focus moved away from the first leg of their last-16 tie in Istanbul on Wednesday to the fall-out caused by the broadcast of what Mourinho thought was a private conversation on French television.
On Sunday night, Canal Plus showed Mourinho talking about Eto’o, joking that nobody knew whether the Cameroonian was 32 years old or 35 while also saying that he could be tempted to move for Monaco’s Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, because “I don’t have a centre-forward and he doesn’t have a team. He plays in front of 3,000 people.”
But, before Chelsea’s eve of game training session at the base of Galatasaray’s rivals Kasimpasa, outside Istanbul, Mourinho hit out at the journalist responsible for the recording.
“I think you (all) should be embarrassed as media professionals because from an ethical point of view you can’t be happy that a colleague can record a private conversation and make it public,” said the Portuguese.
“It’s not a happy comment for me, absolutely, but from an ethical point of view it’s a real disgrace.”
“I’m not defending what I said, I’m attacking something I think is fundamental in your area.
“From my perspective the comment is not a good one, but it’s not something I would do in an official way.
“First of all because I don’t make fun, second because if there are managers who really defend their players I am obviously one of them, and third because Samuel Eto’o is Samuel Eto’o.
– ‘No reason to be upset’ –
“It was with him that I had the best season of my career (winning the treble with Inter Milan in 2010). He is one of the few players who is working with me in a second different club, and a manager never does that when he doesn’t like the player or the person.
“And he has no reason to be upset because also he said a few years ago that Mourinho was the only person in the world he would never play for, and after one year he was playing for me at Inter.”
While Chelsea are top of the Premier League and go into their meeting with Roberto Mancini’s Galatasaray as favourites, Mourinho’s side have missed the presence of a prolific centre-forward this season.
Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba have scored just 17 goals between them this season in the league and Champions League, and the Blues have never suitably replaced Didier Drogba, the veteran Ivorian who will line up against them at the Turk Telecom Arena.
“I know that facing Drogba is difficult and a strange feeling, I have to admit that. But we have to do our job just as we know he wants to do his job,” said Mourinho, who also faced his former protege last season when his Real Madrid side beat Gala 5-3 on aggregate in the quarter-finals of the same competition.
Chelsea may be favourites to win the tie, but Mourinho continued to play down their chances of lifting the trophy for the second time in three seasons.
“We are not favourites, that’s obviously (sic), but when a team reaches the quarter-finals I think anything is possible, so I think this round is very important for every team,” he added.