COBHAM (AFP) – Jose Mourinho insisted Friday that new signing Juan Cuadrado was not a “panic buy” as the Chelsea manager resumed relations with the media during a tetchy press conference.
Mourinho refused to speak to the media before or after Premier League leaders Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City last week because of the Football Association’s decision to ban Diego Costa for stamping in the League Cup semi-final win over Liverpool.
Costa was banned for three games for a challenge on Liverpool’s Emre Can, with Mourinho saying excessive media scrutiny was behind the suspension.
The Chelsea manager, who risks a Premier League fine for his self-imposed silence, was evidently still agitated on Friday.
Indeed, the Portuguese admitted he was only present at the press conference at the club’s Cobham training ground, south of London, because he had to be.
Recent decisions against Chelsea were indirectly, and sometimes sarcastically, referred to, as was the fact that Arsene Wenger was not punished for pushing Mourinho in Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge last October.
Meanwhile, Mourinho, whose side will kick-off at strugglers Aston Villa on Saturday with a five-point lead over second-placed Manchester City, the reigning champions, pointedly refused to mention Costa by name.
His sour mood was made evident immediately, when he was asked whether he was excited by the signing of Cuadrado, who arrived from Fiorentina for a reported fee of £23.3 million ($34.9 million, 30.8 million euros), as a direct replacement for Andre Schurrle, who joined Wolfsburg.
“Normal,” Mourinho responded, with a facial expression that didn’t exactly indicate his mood was normal.
“It’s not a panic buy. It’s a reaction to Schurrle, a departure that is not a panic buy because he (Cuadrado) is a player we’ve known for a long, long time.
“Schurrle is a player we like very, very much but the business was very good. We are happy with it.”
Mourinho was then asked why he has never won at Villa Park, one of just two English stadiums — along with St James’ Park — where he has not enjoyed victory.
“Because the opponents score more goals than us, or sometimes the same number of goals,” Mourinho said.
The former was the case last season, as Villa won 1-0 in a bad-tempered game that saw the Chelsea manager sent off along with Ramires and Willian. He appeared to still be angry about that too.
“There are matches that are impossible to win and you have to be smart enough to understand that.”
Mourinho’s mood became so difficult that he was asked the reason, and whether it was because he had to speak to the press.
“Speak to you? You know why I’m here, so you cannot expect that I’m super happy to be here,” he said.
When asked whether he expected to be punished for not talking to the media before the City match, Mourinho responded with another grievance, referencing Wenger’s push.
“You know, the only surprise I had in relation for that was not to be punished when I was pushed by another manager. Apart from that, I can expect everything.”
Regarding his reasons for not speaking to the press, the Chelsea manager said: “Because, if you want, you can make a silence very noisy.
“It depends what you want to do. You could make noise with my silence, because you know the reason for my silence. It depends on you. If I was a journalist, from silence I could make lots of words.”
Otherwise, Mourinho confirmed that there were only two absences for Saturday, Filipe Luis and Costa — whom he refused to name.
“Filipe is injured and the player who is suspended is suspended. Everybody (else) is fit.”