Mourinho suspicious of Chelsea's Euro bookings

September 13, 2006

Jose Mourinho hinted at a conspiracy theory after Chelsea collected four yellow cards from their 2-0 win against Werder Bremen.

Mourinho was at a loss to explain why so many of his players find their way into the referee's notebook when they play in Europe.

John Terry, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Didier Drogba were booked against Werder in last night's Champions League opener, and the key quartet are now one booking away from a ban.

The Chelsea boss suspects UEFA have a hidden agenda against him but chose his words carefully as he checked the statistics from the first round of matches.

Mourinho said: 'I don't want to speak about this, because I spoke lots over the last three years.

'But the reality, when you look, is Barcelona have no yellow cards, Bayern Munich one yellow card, Liverpool no yellow cards, Valencia one yellow card, Roma one yellow card, Chelsea four yellow cards.

'Do you think it is violence? No.'

Valencia actually had two players booked - Edu and Roberto Ayala - and Mourinho overlooked the fact that Inter Milan had four booked away to Sporting Lisbon.

Terry, Lampard, Cole and Drogba must now tiptoe through the rest of the group games, knowing that another booking will mean an automatic one-match ban.

The Blues are away to Levski Sofia before back-to-back games against Barcelona next month.

Mourinho said: 'The difference between an easy group and a difficult group is that in an easy group you don't get yellow cards because the game is soft; the game is not with pressure.

'In big matches it's tight, and you get more yellow cards.

'Players like Terry and Lampard don't get yellow cards in England and they go to European football and they have a lot of cards.'

Michael Essien fired Chelsea into the lead against Werder midway through the first half, and Michael Ballack secured the win with a 68th-minute penalty.

Mourinho relieved Lampard of penalty duty, after the England midfielder had one saved against Charlton on Saturday.

It was his third miss in four efforts for club and country, and the Blues boss wanted to take the heat off him.

Ballack made no mistake from the spot to score his first goal for Chelsea.

Mourinho said: 'I have 100% confidence in Lampard, no doubt about it. But I told them if the next penalty was a crucial penalty for the game it is better for another player to take the responsibility.'

He went on to claim Lampard, who set up Essien's opener and hit the post late in the game, had been unfairly treated by the media since the World Cup.

Mourinho said: 'Something is happening with the English press in relation to Frank Lampard. I spoke to him about it - and for me, he is guilty.

'He is guilty because you never had a player like him in the last 10 years - and because you never had a player like him in 10 years, you are having a go at him.

'He is guilty because he scores so many goals, because he plays so many matches, because he plays game after game for Chelsea and England with 100% effort.

'He is guilty because he beats an unbelievable record of consecutive matches.

'He is guilty because he is such a good player - but you should respect him a little bit more.'