English football’s reputation damaged by Nemanja Matic ban, says Mourinho

Chelsea manager claims game is losing credibility over not punishing Ashley Barnes

Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic’s suspension has been reduced from three matches to two but he still misses the League Cup final. (thems the rules Jose)

The Chelsea manager, whose team attempt to win the first trophy of his second spell in charge against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, remains incensed to have lost the Serbian for two games after the midfielder pushed Barnes to the turf following the forward’s ill-timed tackle in last Saturday’s draw at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho claimed the English Football Association’s decision not to sanction the Burnley player while Matic sits out a ban, albeit reduced from three games, will damage the English game’s reputation around the world.

Usual Mourinho claptrap

The Portuguese had initially been reluctant to reflect on the ramifications of last Saturday’s draw, but felt compelled to comment when asked about the need for tomorrow’s showpiece to pass without controversy.

“I have worked in so many different countries and I know what the Premier League – what English football – means in every country,” he said.

“The dimension of the Premier League: not just the audiences and the millions of people who watch, but the feeling and envy they have for English football . . . the respect and credibility.

“For example, in a very important newspaper in my country, after the Burnley game the headline was: ‘We thought this was only possible in Portugal, never in England,’” Mourinho claimed.

“The depth of this message, you understand? This is something English football cannot lose. The credibility in which English football is held has taken a long time to build and will take a long time to lose.

“But, step by step, people are affected. These words were not just in Portugal. They were everywhere.

“We must take care of our football. I’m not English but I have worked here a long time and I have to believe it belongs to me.”

Open mouths

Asked to expand upon what he considered to be the “credibility” of the game here, Mourinho said: “For example, you lose credibility when a player like Matic is suspended, and another player [Barnes] can play this weekend.

“I don’t think you can have any doubt that all around the world people open their mouths with surprise at how this can be possible.”

Chelsea had launched an appeal against Matic’s initial three-match ban for violent conduct on the basis of excessive punishment in the hope the suspension would be reduced to one game, only for an independent regulatory commission to reduce the ban to two matches.

The club subsequently released a statement confirming they were “appalled” at that decision and suggesting more must be done to protect players.

source The Guardian

José Mourinho not convinced about signing Cesc Fábregas for Chelsea

José Mourinho is unconvinced about signing Cesc Fábregas with the Chelsea manager retaining a preference for Atlético Madrid’s Koke, the midfielder with whom Barcelona want to replace the former Arsenal captain.

Fábregas has been told by the Catalan club that he is for sale for £30m. The 27-year-old would prefer to return to the Premier League and to a Champions League club, his options have narrowed to Chelsea, as Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City have all – for the moment, at least – passed up the opportunity to buy him.

With Louis van Gaal, the new manager of Manchester United, having also not identified Fábregas as a priority as the Dutchman seeks to rebuild the squad, the Chelsea hierarchy have presented the Spaniard to Mourinho as an ideal goal-scoring midfield successor to Frank Lampard, who is leaving after 13 years at the west London club.

Mourinho, however, is unsure about the Spaniard, preferring instead to target Koke. And, with Mourinho having also sold another diminutive goal-scoring playmaker in Juan Mata to United in January, plus Fabregas’s history with the Portuguese, whether he joins Chelsea is in the balance.

In February Fábregas told Mourinho to “shut up” after the 50-year-old had branded Barça the worst team the club had fielded in “many, many years”.

Although Mourinho would rather sign Koke, Barça are favourites to do so. Koke is five-years younger than Fábregas and was part of the successful Atlético side that won La Liga and were 90 seconds away from defeating Real Madrid to lift the Champions League.

Given that Fábregas has won the World Cup and the last two European Championships with Spain and is a proven Premier League performer the reluctance of three of the clubs competing in next season’s elite competition – plus United – to buy him is a big surprise.

Fábregas is understood to be relaxed about the situation, though with Spain’s World Cup defence starting on Thursday-week in Brazil, whether his future can be decided before then becomes less likely as the tournament nears.

Fábregas’s stock has fallen considerably from last summer. Then, United had a £35m bid for him rejected by Barça, with Fábregas prepared to move to Old Trafford had his club been prepared to sell.