Champions League

Mourinho palms Di Matteo talk

2014-11-24 20:44
Jose Mourinho (AFP)

Berlin - Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has point-blank refused to talk about Schalke coach Robert di Matteo, the only Blues coach to win the Champions League title, ahead of Tuesday's group match.

Schalke's Di Matteo is just seven games into his first job since being sacked by Chelsea in November 2012, six months after steering the Blues to their stunning penalty shoot-out victory at Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.

Having won the Champions League title in 2004 with Porto and Inter Milan in 2010, Mourinho is bidding to become the first coach to win the European title with three different clubs.

But he clearly had no appetite for questions about ex-Chelsea coach Di Matteo as the European title continues to elude him at Stamford Bridge.

"I am not here to talk about Di Matteo, I am here to talk about the game tomorrow," he fumed in Monday's press conference at the team hotel in Duesseldorf after being asked abot Di Matteo.

"If you want to talk about that, I am ready, if you want to talk about Di Matteo, I am not ready."

Mourinho had already shown his disgruntlement with discontented mutterings when journalists asked Chelsea's Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois about how the Blues players would react to Di Matteo.

"I was (on loan) at Atletico when the club won the Champions League under him and maybe the other players will be glad to see him, but for us the focus is just on winning the match," said Courtois.

Chelsea are seven points clear at the top of the Premier League and are unbeaten in all 18 matches this season, which includes a club record 12 league games.

A win at Schalke's Veltins Arena would confirm their place in the Champions League's last 16 as Group G winners with second-placed Schalke three points behind.

The Premier League leaders have a punishing schedule of eight games in December and Mourinho is eager to secure qualification before their final group game at Sporting Lisbon in a fortnight.

"We have two matches (to qualify), obviously it would be better for us to qualify tomorrow, we have so many matches in December it's good if you can avoid the pressure of having to qualify in the final game," said the 51-year-old.

"We need points, our focus is on this game and getting to the last 16."

With Chelsea on the verge of the last 16, Mourinho was in no mood to talk about possible future opponents when asked which team he would idealy like to face in the quarter-finals.

"Maybe we'll go to Europa League, if we lose the next two games we will go to the Europa League, so it makes no sense to talk about the quarter-finals," he said tersely.

Just four points separate Chelsea from third-placed Sporting Lisbon and Mourinho says it would be "very disappointing" in the unlikley event they finish third in the table, which would mean playing in the Europa League.

"I think this team is in a state of evolution where going to the Europa League would be very bad, because your evolution is better when you play in the higher competition," added Mourinho.

"I have told the players it would be very disappointing for us if we play in the Europa League."


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