Jose Mourinho’s Friday afternoon media conference was primarily to look forward to Monday evening’s big match in Manchester, and that was a major topic discussed, but added to the headlines coming out of the press room at Cobham were the manager’s comments on a new transfer possibility.
Mourinho confirmed that Willian, the Brazilian attacking player who faced Chelsea for Shakhtar Donetsk last season and is now at Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia, is an additional target to Wayne Rooney before the transfer window closes.
‘I couldn’t say much in previous press conferences, I had to try to be honest but at the same time try to hide a few things,’ Mourinho told reporters.
‘If you remember I said I was happy with my squad but everyone of us managers says we are happy but we always want something more, we always want more quality and we never close the door to the possibility of adding more quality to the squad.’
When asked if he thinks Willian, who in the last few days underwent a medical with Tottenham, has chosen Chelsea, Mourinho nodded.
‘I don’t like to speak before time, because football can betray you,’ he then said. ‘This is a problem when we speak a lot about transfers and names, because sometimes it looks a player is and he isn’t, but I know what the player wants so at this moment we cannot hide that it is a possibility.’
In relation to Tottenham’s part in the story, Mourinho noted:
‘That is the danger of a medical before a contract, but sometimes if you do the contract and the medical after, you can have a problem signing a player with problems. So you have to do the medical before but the best thing to do is do the medical in secret.
‘If the player is fine you can sign him, and if not, you do not destroy his career by saying to the world the player has problems. You do it in secret and after that when you sign you can say it is done, but sometimes we don’t make it. Sometimes you guys [the press] have great sources and find everything, but that is the risk.’
Mourinho reported that Chelsea are yet to carry out a medical examination on Willian but if a new player were added to the squad it would mean one is likely to go out, as the manager does not want to work with a large group. A squad of 22 is the ideal given the competitions ahead and ensuring an opportunity for Academy players to be involved from time to time.
However Chelsea do not need to sell so a player out on loan is the most likely solution. That would not be Juan Mata despite some media speculation.
‘He is a player we all like and want to keep and we want more quality in the team, we don’t want less. We want to add to the quality we have so Juan is not a player we want to lose,’ insisted Mourinho.
With Chelsea’s first away game such a major story, there was not a spare seat available in the press room to hear Mourinho look forward to playing Manchester United. Given his belief that there are six teams in this year’s title race, he wished to put Monday’s match in context.
‘Every game has an influence and if we lost points against Aston Villa it could affect it, but this is not a two-horse race and when it is a two-horse race the two big matches are much more crucial. In this case we have to play 10 big matches and it is different. But every point we get is one point less the opponent gets so Monday is important, but it is the beginning of the season.’
Mourinho will miss sharing time with his friend Sir Alex Ferguson at the game but he says his relationship with David Moyes is good and has potential to move the same way. On Moyes following such a legendary figure he said:
‘The history of Sir Alex is there forever. Is that a problem for David? I don’t think so because I don’t think David wants to be compared with Sir Alex.
‘David is an experienced manager with years and year in the Premier League and this is the best moment of his career. He has maturity, experience, a big club, very good players so he is in a fantastic position and I think he is going to do very well. I hope he doesn’t win everything and leaves something for the others, but he is in fantastic condition.
‘Now he knows to be successful he has to win trophies, but he has the potential to do that.’
Mourinho gave the latest news on David Luiz’s recovery from a hamstring problem.
‘David Luiz is improving. He is training not yet with the group but training hard. If he is not available on Monday then we think he can be for the Bayern Munich game.’