IN MY LEAGUE Mour­inho rub­bishes Rafa’s achieve­ments

Midweek Sport - - ON THE NOSE - By IAN WIN­ROW

JOSE MOUR­INHO has stuck the knife into Rafa Ben­itez by ad­mit­ting he would be GUT­TED if Chelsea re­peated last sea­son’s Europa League suc­cess.

For­mer Blues boss Ben­itez claimed he had over­seen a suc­cess­ful spell at Stam­ford Bridge af­ter guid­ing the club to third place in the Pre­mier League and lift­ing Europe’s sec­ond tro­phy.

But Mour­inho – who in­sists he is tar­get­ing a clean sweep of tro­phies af­ter re­turn­ing to Chelsea – claims lift­ing the sec­ond-rate sil­ver­ware was a mark of FAIL­URE.

Chelsea dropped into the Europa League af­ter fail­ing to get past the group stage try­ing to de­fend their 2012 Cham­pi­ons League suc­cess.

And Mour­inho – who won the Cham­pi­ons League with Porto and In­ter Mi­lan – sniped: “I don’t want to win the Europa League.

Im­por­tant

“It would be a big dis­ap­point­ment for me. I don’t want my play­ers to feel the Europa League is our com­pe­ti­tion.

“That’s the only Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tion we have to play and that’s the Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tion we have to give our best.

“Chelsea wants the sec­ond Cham­pi­ons League win, I want the third – and we are go­ing to try.”

But the Por­tuguese is adamant his team will go all out for suc­cess in ev­ery com­pe­ti­tion they play.

He de­clared: “The next match is the im­por­tant one. If our next match is the Cham­pi­ons League, the Cham­pi­ons League is our com­pe­ti­tion.

“And the same with the cups, be­cause we know what the English cups mean, es­pe­cially the FA.

“And we want to play ev­ery com­pe­ti­tion with this men­tal­ity – so, for us, no pri­or­i­ties.”

Mour­inho will hand John Terry the chance to re-es­tab­lish him­self as Chelsea’s on-field leader.

The skip­per was side­lined by Ben­itez for vi­tal games dur­ing the clos­ing weeks of last sea­son.

But Mour­inho in­sists the door is open for the cen­tre-back, 32, and the rest of his old guard – in­clud­ing Frank Lam­pard, Petr Cech and Ash­ley Cole – to re­main at the core of the side.

“I don’t care about the pass­port, I don’t care about the date of their birth, I just care about per­for­mance,” said Mour­inho.

“If they are bet­ter than the young guys, then they play. If the young guys are bet­ter than them, they don’t play.

“But the way they are work­ing is amaz­ing.”

But the clock is tick­ing for striker Fer­nando Tor­res af­ter Mour­inho made it clear the Spa­niard is run­ning out of ex­cuses for his dis­mal form since ar­riv­ing from Liver­pool in 2011.

Mour­inho added: “I think good play­ers in big clubs are al­ways un­der this pres­sure.

“I can prom­ise that Fer­nando will get from me that sup­port that a striker needs to feel more con­fi­dent.

“But at the end of the day it’s up to them and is their re­spon­si­bil­ity – and Fer­nando has to cope with that.”

I’VE WON IT: Ben­itez pa­rades the Europa

League tro­phy LEAD­ING ROLE: Terry

TAR­GET: Chan­tome

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.