Mourinho ready to roll out red carpet for Cech
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said Friday he will invite Petr Cech into his side’s dressing room whatever the outcome of this weekend’s Premier League match with Arsenal.
The Czech goalkeeper was sold to the North London club for £10 million ($16 million, 14 million euros) in the summer and will make his first return to Stamford Bridge on Saturday with Mourinho still holding him in high regard after he spent 11 years with Chelsea.
“If anybody could have a doubt – I never had – but if any Chelsea fan with a different perspective of what football is thought Petr Cech against Chelsea would open the goal and let us win, I think in the Community Shield they understood he was there to win and probably more than ever,” he said reflecting on a 1-0 defeat at Wembley in which Cech played.
“After the game, if he wants to come to our dressing room, the door is open for him.”
Mourinho was quick to play down his rift with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. The pair have fought a running battle over the years with a war of words culminating in a pitchside altercation last year.
But Mourinho said: “I think it’s time to not speak about it.
“I don’t think it’s important now and I don’t think people are focused on that. I think people are focused on what has happened on the pitch.
“I am responsible for my actions and the others are responsible for their actions.”
– Backs Hazard –
Mourinho meanwhile has backed Eden Hazard to bounce back from his poor start to the season where he has yet to score for his club and missed a penalty in the 4-0 Champions League win against Maccabi Tel-Aviv on Wednesday.
The Portuguese has described Hazard as the best player in the Premier League but was still prepared to hold a joke on the eve of the Rugby World Cup.
“Maybe it was an agreement he did with some sponsor to promote the Rugby World Cup,” said Mourinho.
“He’s the best penalty taker in this country too. My first option is always him.
“We shouldn’t worry too much about it because we know he doesn’t have many chances to take penalties.
“He’s the best player in England. It’s like when Wayne Rooney doesn’t score goals for three weeks then he’s not a fantastic player.
“It’s not because a bad performance or a penalty lost or not scoring goals for three or four weeks.
“He is the best and he will be the best again. I don’t know if it is tomorrow or if it is next week.”
Arsenal have not beaten Chelsea in seven league attempts but Mourinho insists he does not know why he has such a hold over Wenger as his side look to recover from their poor start to the Premier League season.
“It is a match I want to isolate from every context,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter our fantastic record against Arsenal, doesn’t matter they beat us in the Community Shield. It’s just Chelsea-Arsenal and it’s a match that we want to win. If it’s a pre-season friendly against Arsenal, we want to win.
“It’s easier to forget one competition and focus on one match and the match is Arsenal.
“Two seasons ago we won every match against title contenders and we were not champions. Somebody wins means somebody lose points. I think it’s important, but it’s not crucial.”
Wenger is set to be without Willian but Pedro, Radamel Falcao and Oscar all have chances of being fit.