Mourinho hits back over 'respect' jibe
LONDON -- Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes he has been misinterpreted by Yaya Toure after the Manchester City midfielder accused him of using press conferences to unsettle his Premier League rivals.
Toure's told the Spanish media that Mourinho "talks more than before" following City’s Champions League exit against Barcelona on Wednesday, with the Ivorian suggesting the Stamford Bridge boss' use of mind games was a sideshow to this season’s title race.
Yet Mourinho was quick to insist his messages of good will towards Arsenal and City ahead of their Champions League matches against Bayern Munich and Barca were not designed to put pressure on his domestic rivals, as he stressed Toure had misconstrued the message he was hoping to convey.
"He has a strange concept of lack of respect," Mourinho told a news conference on Friday when offered the chance to respond to Toure's criticisms.
"If to say before the Munich match and Camp Nou match 'this is not over, Arsenal and City have enough quality to turn things around,' if to support the teams in the country where I work, if this is lack of respect, OK.
"I think Arsenal and City show in Munich and Barcelona that I was right. They both play very good matches. This is not a lack of respect, this is support.
"The same way I say Man City have three matches in hand [in the Premier League]. They are capable of winning all three and be top of the league. I try in both occasions to be respectful with the two English teams."
Mourinho went on to offer his backing to Manchester United as they aim to turn around a 2-0 first leg deficit in the Champions League against Olympiakos, but he was eager to ensure his sentiments were not taken out of context once more.
"I want to say the same in relation to Man United," he stressed. "I think Man United is a better team than Olympiakos, I think Man United can do it, I wish Man United to do it.
"If tomorrow, Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie or Michael Carrick or Rio Ferdinand come and say Mourinho is not being respectful with us, I think they are wrong.
"I support the English teams and I was not happy that they are out of the competition. I don't want to say anything else. I don't want to be misinterpreted. I don't want another big Man City player to say I'm disrespectful."
It may be that Chelsea are the only Premier League side left in the Champions League by next weekend as they prepare for the second leg of their last-16 clash against Galatasaray, yet Mourinho would not be drawn on whether his side's extended European run would distract from their domestic title ambitions.
"It depends on us," added Mourinho. "If we managed to go through, we will have two big matches against a big opponent and that means a lot.
"If Galatasaray beat us and we are out of the Champions League, then everyone is in the same conditions."