Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

De Bruyne axing hits a nerve with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho

Cut short: Jose Mourinho left after questions on De Bruyne
Cut short: Jose Mourinho left after questions on De Bruyne

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho showed the first sign of tension since his return to the club this summer by dramatically cutting short his pre-match press conference in Bucharest last night.

Chelsea already find themselves in a must-win situation in the Champions League having lost their opening group game against Basle at home a fortnight ago and Mourinho significantly seemed to be feeling the strain.

A question over the decision to leave Kevin De Bruyne behind in London prompted him to walk out prematurely, but one suspects the disciplinary trouble striker Fernando Torres is in was partly responsible.

His preparation for the match has been far from ideal as he still waits to hear from the Football Association if they will charge Torres with violent conduct.

Torres is already facing a one-game ban after being sent off by referee Mike Dean for two yellow card offences against Tottenham on Saturday.

But Dean missed the incident when the striker appeared to scratch Jan Vertonghen in the face and the FA's new independent disciplinary panel are examining the evidence.

The FA have until 6pm today to decide if they will officially charge him and want to make sure their case is watertight, but the signs are ominous.

Chelsea will risk a longer ban if they appeal, and should they choose not to, a decision over his punishment will be taken by Thursday.

Mourinho was already incensed that Torres was sent off in the first place. Now if the FA confirm they are taking further action, it may affect tonight's team.

He was likely to start with Samuel Eto'o, but is likely to now opt for the Spaniard instead considering he could be out of domestic action for the next month.

Mourinho's sour mood was evident from the outset as he answered questions in the National Arena and took his opportunity to leave after being questioned on De Bruyne being omitted.

He said: "This is fantastic because no one asks me about (Juan) Mata. You have spoken about Mata (not being selected) for three weeks.

"I was honest with Juan because of what he's done in training and what he's done in the game he played. With Kevin I didn't like the match he played against Swindon and I didn't like the way he was training. But you only ask about the guys who were not selected. Thank you."

He left before anyone could ask his opinion on Torres.

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