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Mourinho strikes back over Eto'o

Chelsea manager says reporting of joke about his team's striking options 'a disgrace' ahead of Champions League tie.

Last updated: 25 Feb 2014 17:33
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In the thick of it: Mourinho takes time out from controversy to watch his players train in Turkey [Reuters]

The act of sidling up to Jose Mourinho in a private conversation and secretly recording him could be considered brave or foolish, but the Chelsea manager chose the words "embarrassing" and "a disgrace" to describe an act that has overshadowed his team's preparations for a first-leg tie at Galatasaray in the last 16 of the Champions League.

French TV station Canal Plus broadcast Mourinho making comments about his team's lack of striking options at a sponsor's event in Istanbul ahead of Wednesday's match, during which he may be envious of the presence of former striker Didier Drogba in the opposing lineup.

In the footage, which Mourinho said was light-hearted banter with someone not involved in football, the Portuguese was heard saying: "The problem with Chelsea is we lack a scorer. I have one (Samuel Eto'o) but he's 32. Maybe 35, who knows?".

Speaking in front of the press – and possibly the culprit – on Tuesday, Mourinho said: "I think you should be embarrassed as media professionals because by the ethical point of view I don't think you are happy that your colleague is able to record a private conversation and to make it public.

"Is it a not-happy comment? Absolutely. But I think from an ethical point of view it is a real disgrace.

"I am not defending what I am saying, I am attacking something that is fundamental from your professional area. That person showed what he is or what he does not know about the job."

Samuel Eto'o has scored twice in the Champions League and six times in the Premier League this season [AP]

He also said he would never intentionally disparage Cameroon striker Eto'o, with whom he won the Champions League with Inter Milan in 2010.

'Not serious'

"From my perspective the comment is not obviously a good one and is not obviously one I would do in a serious way, is not something I would do in an official way in an interview," Mourinho said.

"First of all because I don't make fun. Secondly, if there are managers in the world that defend their players I am obviously one of them.

"And third because Samuel Eto'o is Samuel Eto'o. Four times a Champions League winner – people think three times but he is four times, one in Real Madrid, two in Barcelona and one with Inter.

"It was with him I had the best ever season of my career. He is one of the few players that is working with me at a second different club and a manager never does that when he doesn't like the player, doesn't like the person.

"He has no reason to be upset with me."

Chelsea's forwards have hit the target sporadically this season despite the London side's position at the top of the English Premier League.

Eto'o leads the way with eight in all competitions – compared to midfielder Eden Hazard's 13 – while Fernando Torres has seven and Demba Ba only three.

Galatasaray's Ivory Coast striker Drogba, by contrast, hit 157 goals in 341 matches for Chelsea. His last act in blue was to score the winning penalty in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in 2012.

"To face Drogba is difficult and is a strange feeling," Mourinho, who won the title with Porto before his first stint at Chelsea in 2004, said.

"I have to admit that, but we have to do our job…I want to do my job by trying to help the team and he wants to do his by scoring goals, which he did last year."

Huntelaar hungry against Real

Also in action on Wednesday are Real Madrid, whom Mourinho left last year after failing to take them to their first Champions League title since 2002.

Few may give German opponents Schalke 04 much of a chance against the Spanish leaders, especially as fellow Bundesliga high-flyers Bayer Leverkusen were thrashed 4-0 by Paris Saint-Germain last week.

But Schalke are on a run of eight competitive matches unbeaten, and have an in-form striker with something to prove against the club that let him go in 2009 after just eight months in Madrid.

Dutchman Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored eight goals in 20 appearances in Spain but was offloaded to Milan that summer, and is now on 59 goals in 89 Bundesliga appearances for the Ruhr outfit.

"Madrid is a great club, with fantastic people," he said as he prepared to face Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale et al on his own turf.

"Despite everything I was focused on playing, on fighting for a place in the team, but they didn't give me a chance and they left me no option.

"They wouldn't even let me train with the rest of the squad,they shut me out. I had to leave."

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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