Jose Mourinho has questioned the scheduling of today’s Barclays Premier League fixtures with Champions League action either side of this weekend in mind. The manager pinpointed not just our evening kick-off at Villa Park today, ahead of a European clash with Galatasaray on Tuesday, but also highlighted the games faced by Manchester City this week, who face Hull City in the weekend’s early kick-off a little over 48 hours after returning from Barcelona.
He believes more could be done in England to help those teams involved in continental competition, as many other European nations do. Galatasaray, for example, played last night ahead of our game on Tuesday and drew 0-0 at Karabukspor.
‘I really don’t understand why City, a team that comes from Europe on Wednesday, play today at 12.45pm,’ said Mourinho. ‘I’m speaking against myself here but I’m not trying to get it just for me; I’m trying to get it for all of us.
‘There is something in this country that is outside my understanding. Why did City play against Wigan last Sunday? Barcelona played on Saturday, why didn’t they play Wigan on Saturday and get one more day? It’s the same way I don’t understand why Galatasaray played last night and we have to play today, and at 5.30pm.
‘If we played last night at for example 7.45pm, who does it make a difference to? Would there be fewer spectators at Villa Park? I don’t think so; I think it would be a full house. Would it make a difference for TV if we played last night? I don’t think it makes a difference, I think the TV share would be fantastic. TV is powerful and they deserve to be powerful because without them nothing would be the same, but I think there is a space that can be filled with communication.
‘Would it be good for Chelsea? Yes. Would it be good for English football? Yes. So why do Galatasaray play a day before us? Or why don’t City play at 5.30pm and we play at 12.45pm? If they play at 5.30pm they have some more time to recover, and it we play at 12.45pm we have some more time to recover. I think everybody agrees!’
For the first time in three weeks there is a full round of Premier League fixtures this weekend, with our nearest title challengers Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City all returning to league duty. To be top of the table and with a crunch Champions League clash to look forward to next week is a source of pleasure for Mourinho. Since returning to the club our manager has stressed a key factor in his players’ development is to be regularly involved in pivotal matches such as the ones that lie ahead.
‘The accumulation of experience during the season is good for the team and the fact we are where we are is also good,’ explained the Portuguese.
‘I would like also to beat Galatasaray and to play in the quarter-finals against one of the biggest teams. It would be fantastic for the evolution of the players and the team to go to the quarter-finals and play Real Madrid or Barcelona or Bayern Munich.
‘One thing is to go to a match without any kind of ambition and another thing is to go where we have to win because we want to try to stay in the position we are. This pressure of trying to play for something bigger than we could have expected is also good.’
– A clip of Jose Mourinho talking to Chelsea TV ahead of the game can be viewed above with the full interview available now via the channel’s online access.