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Mourinho claims criticism of Chelsea fans came from the heart

By Matt McGeehan

Jose Mourinho has admitted his criticism of Chelsea's home support may have gone too far, but claimed that it was an emotional response tied to his affection for the club.

The Blues boss felt like Chelsea were playing in an "empty stadium" for the first half hour of last Saturday's 2-1 Premier League win over QPR.

Supporters have responded in varying degrees of anger, bemusement and frustration - as well as agreement - to Mourinho's jibe.

"This is not, for me, just a job. It it more than that, because it's Chelsea," said Mourinho, ahead of tonight's Champions League Group G clash at Maribor.

"Maybe I go a little bit too far, but I see myself in the stands, watching Chelsea and I want to play, I want to help.

"If I'm not a player I cannot play, if I'm not a coach I cannot make decisions.

"If I'm just a fan what can I do to help? That's just my view.

"Everybody at Chelsea Football Club knows how much I love the club, how much I want it to improve and how much I want to be part of the club in the future.

"Even a moment of criticism has to be analysed with different eyes, with the eyes of somebody who knows why I came back to Chelsea and why I'm here with my heart and why I want to stay for a long, long time."

Chelsea beat Slovenian champions Maribor 6-0 two weeks ago at Stamford Bridge as part of their unbeaten 15-match start to the season.

The Premier League leaders play at Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime, with 24 hours less rest as the Reds played at Real Madrid last night. Additionally, Liverpool rested a number of regulars.

Scheduling concessions are often made for teams competing in Europe in other leagues and Mourinho is frustrated that English clubs' wishes are not fairly accommodated.

Speaking before Liverpool's match at the Bernabeu, Mourinho said: "I decide not to speak about our fixtures. Speak, don't speak, it goes always in the same direction.

"If Liverpool decide to rest players when they play against the European champions, it's a question for the Liverpool manager, it's not a question for me.

"If one day I go to a game and I don't feel I can win, maybe I don't go. Normally, against the most difficult opponents, I will try to go with my best team, but who knows?"

Mourinho feels a responsibility for Chelsea to perform at Maribor, in an ominous warning to hosts for whom merely reaching the group stages is an achievement in itself.

"I like this concept of going with a big club, full of big players to a country, a stadium, a city where normally they don't come," Mourinho added.

"To come here, to play here, I think we have responsibility to play for us and also to play for the people."

If Chelsea win and Sporting Lisbon don't beat Schalke, Mourinho's men advance and will be in pole position to finish top of the group.

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