Monday, January 9, 2006
Mourinho will let unhappy players leave
Jose Mourinho admits he will listen to offers for any player who wants to
leave Stamford Bridge.
But there was little hope for England left-back Wayne Bridge or central
defender Robert Huth as they look for a sustained run in the Chelsea first team
ahead of this summer's World Cup finals in Germany.
Having secured the loan services of midfielder Nuno Maniche from Dynamo Moscow
until the end of the season, Mourinho's squad is now back to its full quota and
it is unlikely that either Bridge or Huth will be allowed to move on during the
current transfer window.
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has already issued guarded warnings to
Bridge that he must be playing regular first team football before the end of the
season or he can forget being part of his World Cup gathering.
But Mourinho is reluctant to let either player go out on loan while his side
are still challenging for success on three fronts - the Barclays Premiership,
the FA Cup and the Champions League - and will not let their individual desires
affect his plans.
The only way anyone will be allowed to leave the club is if they make it quite
clear to the Portuguese coach that they are unhappy and no longer wish to be
part of his squad.
'Anyone who isn't happy here can leave,' said Mourinho. 'I know Wayne
Bridge needs to play football but Chelsea need to win matches.
'I will keep my word to my players, I will keep the squad of players that I
trust unless somebody shows me they are not happy or wants to leave.'
Time is running out for Bridge and German international Huth and although both
started the FA Cup victory over Huddersfield on Saturday, neither are expected
to be in action against Sunderland this weekend.
Indeed, Mourinho made it quite clear that he will not let his heart rule his
head when it comes to team selection.
Mourinho added: 'A Chelsea manager chooses, in his opinion, the players who
are in better condition to play matches. Of course I want to help Bridge and
give him some matches because he is a very good player who wants to come back to
a high level. But if I feel that Gallas or Del Horno are the best options for me
I cannot think with my heart.'
Meanwhile Joe Cole has accepted Mourinho's criticism that he produced a
showboating performance during the Premiership win over Birmingham on New Year's
Mourinho claimed he would axe the England midfielder if he continued to play
for himself and the fans instead of the team.
Cole missed the clash with his former club West Ham through suspension at the
beginning of last week but was back in action against Huddersfield on Saturday.
Cole, who has been in fine goalscoring form in recent weeks, failed to shine
against lowly Town but did enough to suggest he has heeded Mourinho's warning.
'I know what the manager has said and he is always asking more questions of
me,' said Cole. 'I always listen to what he says and want to answer those
questions for him.
'I was so disappointed to miss the West Ham game. It would have been nice to
play back at Upton Park again, but it was typical that I had to miss the game
'I would love to get back among the goals again and maintain the form I have
been showing all season.'
Chelsea, who face either Millwall or Everton in the fourth round of the FA
Cup, remain in mourning following the death of former sports minister Tony Banks
in America on Sunday.
Banks, 62, died after suffering a massive stroke and tributes have poured in
for the lifelong Chelsea supporter.
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: 'The entire Chelsea Football Club community
is saddened by the news that Lord Stratford has passed away.
'Better known as Tony Banks, he was a man of high intellect, great humour,
much compassion and of course he was Chelsea's No1 supporter.
'Tony was instrumental in helping Chelsea `old boys' renew their links to the
club. His support and advice to the club's current management was very welcome
'He had just embarked on a new stage in his life, and he was doing so with
the enthusiasm and excitement that marked his entire career. He will be greatly
missed by all who knew him. Our sincere condolences go to his wife Sally at this