Jose Mourinho has been stirring the pot ahead of Chelsea’s clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford tonight by arguing that David Moyes is to blame for Wayne Rooney’s unhappiness.
The Stamford Bridge boss argued that Moyes made it clear that although Rooney is an important player for the Red Devils, he’s most definitely behind Robin van Persie in the pecking order and all Chelsea have done is approach them for a player they’re interested in.
Mourinho sounded bemused when he was asked if he will receive a negative reaction from the United supporters during tonight’s game, he said:
“They are against me? But I didn’t say [to Rooney] you will be a second-choice for me. And they are against me?
“We are trying to get a player that a manager told ‘You will be a second option’ for him. We are not going for Van Persie.
“They don’t have to be against me. If I say Ramires is a second option for me and he plays when Lampard is tired or injured, if someone comes here to get Ramires, nobody is upset.”
When the Portuguese manager was asked if his opposing manager was to blame, he responded:
“In every big team, I am not criticising, you have first options and second options, and those second options must be very good players.
“Of course big teams must have second choices. Big players too. The point is if the players are happy to accept that situation.”
Chelsea may make one final approach for Rooney but probably know that the chances of signing the player are slim unless something drastic happens. I think Mourinho is aware of this and probably wouldn’t drag the issue back into the public eye if he was confident and is now using the situation as a stick to beat both United and Moyes with.
At the same time, if Rooney is so unhappy then why not say so or hand in a transfer request? Often you’ll see professionals using all sorts of dodgy tactics to get what they want including feigning injury and deliberately falling out with team-mates etc, but this isn’t the case with the 27-year-old.
The rumour is that 32-year-old Anzhi Makhachkala forward Samuel Eto’o will join the Blues as part of the deal for Willian and he’ll be coming in at a cut-price fee and wages on a one-year deal, so perhaps Chelsea and Mourinho will bide their time with Rooney and wait until the player enters the final year of his contract at United next summer.
Mourinho has typically made the whole thing about him and he’s bearing the brunt of the abuse from United fans and criticism from the media which is a tactic he has often used to take the heat off his players, especially ahead of the big occasions.