Jose Mourinho reported at his pre-match press conference this morning Ashley Cole has not yet recovered from the lateral ligament injury in the knee he picked up prior to the visit of Spurs two weeks ago. He remains out injured for tomorrow’s game against his former club.
Speaking at a more early time than usual, our manager was able to bring more positive news regarding Marco van Ginkel, who has travelled to the North-West with our Under-21 squad ahead of their clash with Manchester United tonight. He will play some part in the game, his first competitive action since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in our Capital One Cup victory at Swindon in September.
The manager briefly summarised the team news ahead of our huge clash with Arsenal tomorrow.
‘As a consequence of last Saturday we don’t have Ramires and Willian,’ said Mourinho. ‘Ashley Cole is still out. Marco van Ginkel is playing tonight against Man United for the Under-21s. Nothing else I think.’
Mourinho received an FA charge on Wednesday following events towards the end of our loss to Aston Villa in our last Premier League outing.
‘I don’t accept the charges,’ he reported. ‘I have a meeting on Monday and I have to make my defence privately, not with you. For you it is enough to know for obvious reasons I don’t accept the charges.’
Mourinho again reiterated he has no preference who we draw in the Champions League today, stressing all the best teams were still in the hat. On the more pressing matter of our London derby with Arsenal tomorrow, the Portuguese played down its importance against a manager he has not tasted defeat against.
‘It’s no more significant than the game last Saturday in Birmingham. It’s exactly the same significance; maybe a bit less now because of what happened last weekend. Last Saturday put us in a position where probably we wouldn’t be now, probably we would be with more points than we have now.
‘We want to get the maximum points possible during the season and this is our objective game after game so if we can add three points to the ones we have now that would be good.
‘The game is not coach against coach, it is team against team, it is Chelsea against Arsenal. I haven’t even played Arsenal with Inter or Madrid or Porto; I have only played Arsenal with Chelsea. Records don’t play any role.’
Arsene Wenger will take charge of his 1000th Arsenal game tomorrow. Our boss considered that achievement and whether he might be able to replicate it.
‘I admire him and I admire Arsenal because it’s not possible to have 1000 matches unless the club is also a fantastic club in the way they support their manager in the bad moments – especially when the bad moments were quite a lot – so I admire the manager and I admire the club.
‘I would like to reach 1000 but it’s very difficult, and in modern football it’s even more difficult. If I accumulate my first three-and-a-half years with Chelsea and this one I have a few!’ laughed Mourinho.
‘Let’s see if I can reach not 1000, I would say 500. That would be fantastic.’