CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho yesterday abandoned a press conference ahead of tonight’s Champions League match with Steaua Bucharest after becoming agitated with questions regarding his selection policy.
Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has not travelled to Romania with Mourinho unhappy at the Belgian’s display in last week’s 2-0 win at Swindon in the Capital One Cup and his attitude in training.
De Bruyne is seemingly the latest player Mourinho is keen to make an example of having used last season’s player of the year Juan Mata sparingly so far this term, but the Portuguese boss did not take kindly to being quizzed on the subject.
“Kevin is my option,” he said. “I make mistakes but I try to be honest all the time, so the same way I try to be honest with Juan and say he will play because of what he did in training and because of what he did in the last matches he played, it is the same with Kevin.
“He is not selected because I did not like the way he played against Swindon and I did not like the way he was training.”
Then, before his premature departure, Mourinho added: “This is fantastic because no one asks me about Mata. You have spoken about Mata for three weeks, now you’re asking about Kevin.
“You only ask about the guys who were not selected. See you.”
Midfielder Eden Hazard suffered an ankle injury in the weekend’s 1-1 draw against Tottenham and also did not travel to Bucharest, while Michael Essien has not been registered in their 25-man Champions League squad.
Chelsea defeated Steaua 3-2 on aggregate in March on their way to lifting the Europa League trophy, having overturned a first-leg defeat.
They will need to show the same resolve tonight, having lost their opening Group E encounter with FC Basel of Switzerland and veteran midfielder Frank Lampard backs his team to do so.
“Last year, in the first half we were slow and we weren’t ready and we lost the game in the first half,” said the 35-year-old. “Considering the position we’re in now and we need a result we have to start the game at a top level.
“We’re a very experienced squad and you can never underestimate any side in the Champions League. We’ve now got five games to go, so we aim to put that right.”
Benitez believes Arsene’s the best
FORMER Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez has taken a sideways swipe at Jose Mourinho by declaring Arsene Wenger is the best manager in England.
Benitez said: “I think Arsene Wenger is the best coach in the Premier League.
“Wenger is a great manager, a great person and is doing a great job.”