Jose Mourinho has criticised the media after a French TV station published comments he made about Chelsea lacking reliable strikers, adding that remarks about Samuel Eto’o’s age were not intended to be serious.
Chelsea’s Champions League game at Galatasaray tonight has been overshadowed by the comments, which Mourinho made at a sponsor’s event in Switzerland as part of a private conversation that he did not know was being filmed.
“The problem with Chelsea is we lack a scorer,” the Portuguese said in footage captured by Canal Plus. “I have one [Eto’o] but he’s 32. Maybe 35, who knows?”
Speaking in Istanbul yesterday ahead of the last-16 first-leg clash, 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 your colleague is able to record a private conversation and make it public.
“I think you should all be a bit embarrassed because it is against your ethic that you have in your work. 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.”
Mourinho said the recording was of a light-hearted conversation with someone who was not involved in football and not something he would say if it was going to be reported.
Chelsea lead the Premier League but have struggled for goals from their three recognised strikers, Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba, who have found the net 11 times between them in the league this season.
“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 [Milan].
“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.”
The London side will this evening face their former forward Didier Drogba, whose last act in a Chelsea shirt was to score the winning penalty when the Blues lifted the Champions League trophy in 2012.
“To face Drogba is difficult and is a strange feeling, I have to admit that but we have to do our job, we know he wants to do his job,” said Mourinho. “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.”
In tonight’s other Champions League last-16 fixture Real Madrid travel to Germany for the first leg of their tie with Schalke.
Real welcome back Cristiano Ronaldo for the game in Gelsenkirchen. The Fifa Ballon d’Or winner, who scored a competition-record nine goals in the group stage, returns after serving a three-match suspension in La Liga.
The nine-times European champions are unbeaten in 27 games in all competitions, of which they have won 23.
Schalke are unbeaten in the Bundesliga since 7 December and last Friday’s goalless draw against Mainz was the first time in 2014 that the club have failed to record a win.