Belfast Telegraph

Jose Mourinho seemingly targets Arsene Wenger as Diego Costa fallout continues

Jose Mourinho appeared to launch an astonishing attack on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as the row over Chelsea striker Diego Costa's retrospective ban rumbled on.

Costa is absent for the second game of his three-match suspension at Newcastle on Saturday after he was sanctioned by the Football Association for grappling with Laurent Koscielny in last week's 2-0 win over Arsenal.

The FA rescinded a ban for Gunners defender Gabriel - although he has since been hit with a one-match ban for improper conduct - but Mourinho refused to comment on the decisions.

"If I answer I'm going to be suspended," Mourinho said.

"I don't want to touch the theme and everything that surrounds this situation because I want to be on the bench.

"I don't comment and I tell you why: some managers can speak about the referee before the game and after the game and some others cannot. I am in the list of the ones that cannot.

"An imaginary list, but clearly."

Mourinho was asked about the pressure on Steve McClaren, the boss of Newcastle, who have one win in 17 league games and none since the former England boss was appointed in the summer.

He appeared to take the opportunity to wade into Wenger but, when asked if he meant the Arsenal manager, declined to name the Frenchman, a long-time adversary.

"I think in this country, only one manager is not under pressure," Mourinho said.

"Steve is under pressure, I am under pressure, Brendan (Rodgers, the Liverpool boss) is under pressure, (Manchester City's Manuel) Pellegrini is under pressure.

"We cannot lose matches, we cannot be below expectations.

"There is one that for some reason is outside that list. Good for him."

Mourinho repeatedly declined to name the individual he believes to be the exception - "Just one out of 20," he added - but appeared to be referring to Wenger, who pushed him in the Stamford Bridge technical area in October 2014. He has been Arsenal boss since October 1996.

"You know," Mourinho said.

"He can speak about the referees before the game, can speak about the referees after the game, can push people in the technical area, can cry in the morning, can cry in the afternoon, nothing happens. Can be not achieved, keep the job, still the king. It's a privilege."

Mourinho insisted his comments were "not strong" and was asked why he thought there was an inconsistency.

"A good question. I don't have a theory. I just have a reality," Mourinho added.

"Just something that is real and is objective. If I speak about the referee, I am suspended.

"If I push a manager in the technical area, I am banned from the stadium.

"If I speak about players from other clubs and I ask for suspensions, I am in trouble.

"So, clearly, the facts are there. I don't envy (him). It's good for him."

Mourinho said the club were still awaiting the written reasons for the FA's decision, although it is understood they were sent on Thursday.

Following the midweek Capital One Cup win at Walsall on Wednesday, Mourinho said "retaliation is allowed" in relation to Gabriel's kick which was aimed at Costa.

Asked on Friday what he meant, Mourinho referred to the decision last season to suspend Chelsea's Nemanja Matic for taking exception to a challenge from Burnley's Ashley Barnes.

Mourinho said: "The reaction to something that happened before was always punished in football and now we now that it is not always. You can do that."

Former Brazil striker Pele this week said Costa was not a good example to children. Mourinho declined to respond.

"It is his opinion," the Blues boss said.

"He's a big one and has the right of his opinion. No critics from me."

Radamel Falcao or Loic Remy will start up front in Costa's absence, with Willian (hamstring), Oscar (knee) and Pedro (thigh) all fit to feature.

Remy could play against his former club, but Mourinho says it is "not relevant".

"Loic wants to play every game," Mourinho said.

"I don't think it's a motivation for him to score against Newcastle more than it's a motivation for him to score against Walsall.

"Players don't think about those things. They want to play and score against everyone."

The Portuguese has never won a league game at Newcastle.

Asked why, he said: "They score always one more goal than us."


From Belfast Telegraph