Belfast Telegraph

Champions League Maccabi Tel Aviv v Chelsea: Blues have no fears as Jose Mourinho raps Le Saux

By Matt McGeehan

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho issued a veiled swipe at Graeme Le Saux after insisting all of his players were happy to travel to Israel for tonight's Champions League clash with Maccabi Tel Aviv, despite heightened security following the Paris terror attacks.

The Blues boss says there was no repeat of the 2001 trip to Israel, when England left-back Le Saux was one of six players who did not travel for a Uefa Cup game with Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Le Saux last month criticised Mourinho's "damaging" behaviour after a series of disciplinary run-ins with the Football Association and the Dr Eva Carneiro controversy amid Chelsea's miserable start to the season.

It appeared Mourinho, whose position has been under scrutiny of late, responded in kind when singling out Le Saux, who was joined in not travelling 14 years ago by Marcel Desailly, Emmanuel Petit, William Gallas, Albert Ferrer and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

The Group G game takes place in Haifa's Sammy Ofer Stadium, 60 miles north of Tel Aviv, as the arena is more suitable for European fixtures.

"We can just focus on playing," Mourinho said.

"And (to) leave security questions to people who know more than we do.

"I didn't have one single problem inside of the squad. I didn't have a Graeme Le Saux. I had everybody without fears, just wanting to come.

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"I had even a player who maybe tomorrow or after tomorrow, his wife is having a baby and he's here to play, because he knows how important it is for us."

Asked who the expectant father was, Mourinho said: "He's one of the 20 with babies because the factory is working well. Every two months we have a new baby."

Midfielder Nemanja Matic said it was not him.

Matic said: "Not me, I have two already, so I have to rest a little bit."

Perhaps in another message to Le Saux, Mourinho refused to comment on the situation at Real Madrid or their 4-0 loss to Barcelona in last Saturday's El Clasico.

"In this moment I see so many people speaking, especially about the clubs in trouble, it's amazing the lack of respect, the lack of ethics," Mourinho said.

"If I speak about Real Madrid, I speak when they are winning, not when they are losing.

"I don't enjoy other people losing matches. I enjoy my club winning matches.

"I don't smile with defeats from other teams, I smile with my victories.

"That's why I don't smile a lot in the last four or five months."

Chelsea, who beat Norwich 1-0 on Saturday to end a three-match losing streak in the Barclays Premier League, could qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League with victory, if Porto beat Dynamo Kiev.

"We are focused on what we have to do," Mourinho added.

"We are very disappointed with the bad results we had for a significant period of time and we need to keep getting results for our happiness, for our pride.

"Tomorrow is simple: if we lose, we are in trouble. If we lose we depend on other results.

"If we get a draw we can qualify in the last game, but we cannot be first.

"If we win, maybe we qualify tomorrow and we have a big chance to finish first. The result tomorrow is very important for us."

Chelsea made a loss of £23.1 million in their Barclays Premier League-winning season, it has been announced.

The Blues, who also won the Capital One Cup in 2014-15, revealed their annual financial results until June 30, 2015, and reported the deficit kept them within Financial Fair Play limits.

The Blues, owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, announced revenues of £314.3m, marginally down on the 2013-14 high of £319.8m.

The figures may lead to some concern, with Chelsea 15th in the Barclays Premier League and with an unprecedented run required to secure the riches which accompany Champions League football next term.

Belfast Telegraph


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