–Blues Boss Dismisses Terry Row Reports, Insists Hazard Is EPL No.1
By Johnny Edward:
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has played down his club’s outstanding recent record against Arsenal while ruling Willian out of Saturday’s lunch time London derby game at Stamford Bridge.
In his pre-match conference on Friday, Mourinho revealed he wants to isolate Saturday’s game against Arsenal from all other contexts.
“It doesn’t matter our excellent record against Arsenal, they have not beaten us for seven or eight games apart from the Community Shield. If it’s a pre season friendly against Arsenal we want to win.
“Because it’s a match. I want to isolate it. It’s just Chelsea-Arsenal,”
Willian was replaced after 23 minutes in Chelsea’s 4-0 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv on Wednesday after picking up an hamstring injury in the encounter.
Mourinho was also quick to add that there are some doubts ahead of the game as well with Pedro and Oscar needing to pass a last minute fitness test to feature in the encounter.
“I select every player for the game because we have doubts,”
“Willian is not even an option. Pedro, Falcao, Oscar, let’s see what happens.“Let’s see.”
On the 11-point gap behind City, Mourinho said: ”It’s not crucial. It’s easy to see some better faces, easy to feel a better atmosphere – it’s normal.
“Two seasons ago we won every game against title contenders and weren’t champions.
On Branislav Ivanovic, he added: “I liked the dynamic and many individual performances on Wednesday night. You don’t see me being critical with him, so I don’t think the question is for me because I’m not making individual analysis.”
“It the moment we are playing competitions at the same time. I think this helps us, it’s easier to focus on one match. And for this, it’s Arsenal.”
He also insists there is no friction between him and John Terry but made no promises about the captain’s return to the team.
Terry, Diego Costa, Nemanja Matic and Branislav Ivanovic were all benched for Wednesday’s Champions League game against Maccabi Tel Aviv
“We have to look like this: last season he played every minute but two seasons ago he didn’t and three seasons ago even less. So what’s the problem?
“He is a player who has my total confidence. I trust him always. He’s one of my men. Because he’s on the bench for one game or I take him off at half-time, what’s the difference?’
On Eden Hazard’s penalty miss against Maccabi Tel Aviv, Mourinho said the Belgian playmaker is still the best player in England.
“He’s the best player playing in this country. It’s not before a bad performance or penalty lost or not scoring goals for three weeks.
“He is the best. He’ll be the best again. One of these days, he’s the man of the match. As for his penalty: Maybe it was an agreement with some sponsor to promote the Rugby World Cup.”