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Apr 29, 2014

Mourinho: Rodgers has changed tone

FC's Stewart Robson and Shaka Hislop discuss Chelsea's tactics in their 2-0 win over Liverpool.

Brendan Rodgers on Tuesday congratulated Jose Mourinho for Chelsea's 2-0 win at Liverpool on Sunday, going back on his immediate postgame criticism.

Brendan Rodgers has gone back on his immediate criticism of Chelsea, Jose Mourinho says.

The Portuguese revealed the phone call in his news conference ahead of his side's Champions League semifinal second leg against Atletico Madrid, and defended his tactics by saying it's "stupid" of a team if it doesn't play to its strengths.

Chelsea's approach provoked much comment, not least from Rodgers himself, who described the defensive style as "easy to coach". Mourinho revealed, however, that the Liverpool manager had gone back on that opinion.

"Pundits are pundits, and I don't want to comment a lot," Mourinho said. "Brendan is a manager and is somebody I consider my friend. I met him a long time ago when he was a very young coach, coaching kids, and I consider him a friend. Of course I know his words after the match, but I also know his words today, and today he told me congratulations for a great victory and a great performance.

"So, specially because I consider him a friend and someone I like, I prefer to forget the words after the match and I keep today's word. He's an intelligent guy. He watched the match for sure on video and, now, I think he understood what happened."

Mourinho also had an implicit response for those who criticised his approach.

"You know, at this moment, football is full of philosophers," Mourinho said. "People who understand much more than me. Full of people with fantastic theories and philosophies. It's amazing. But the reality is always the reality. A team that doesn't defend well doesn't have many chances to win. A team who doesn't score lots of goals, if they concede lots of goals, is in trouble. A team without balance is not a team.

"After that, I can't say much more than this. When Atletico has the ball, we have to defend. When we have the ball we have to attack. When they have the ball, we have to try and stop them scoring. When we have the ball we want to try and score. This is football, the football that I know. Opponents have the ball, you have to work and be defensively organised. You have the ball, you have to try and play according to the qualities of your players and the qualities of your opponents. You know?

"I remember to say in my first period here, if you have a goalkeeper like Petr Cech who puts the ball in the opponents' box, and a striker like Didier Drogba who wins everything in the air, why play short? Because you are stupid? If your opponents are very fast on the counter and want space behind your defensive line, if you give them that space you are stupid. So when a team plays strategically and thinks about his team and the qualities of the opponent, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, good teams, intelligent teams. In this moment, depending on the coach and the club obviously, the critics, they speak. But, no problem."

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