Mourinho paves way for Duff to leave Chelsea

July 20, 2006

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has opened the door for Damien Duff to leave Stamford Bridge.

Duff has been linked with a move to Tottenham in order to increase his first-team opportunities with Chelsea already rejecting one £5million bid for the Republic of Ireland international.

Mourinho said: 'It is not true that Duff didn't play much last season - he played two more games than the season before and was injured.

'I have an open relationship with Duff and we have talked about all possibilities. He's a player I'm happy to keep, not desperate to keep.

'I like Damien Duff as a player and a person. I've listened to him for a couple of hours and understand what is going through his mind.'

Mourinho refused to comment on speculation linking Chelsea with a move for Arsenal defender Ashley Cole - but expressed his admiration for the player.

He said: 'Ashley is an Arsenal player so I'm not going to say anything. We have Wayne Bridge back from Fulham and he is a player that we trust.

'We will see what happens with Asier del Horno and if we sell him there will be space to buy a new player.

'Ashley Cole is a good player but we've been connected with every left-back in Europe.'