• Champions League

Mourinho: I back English sides

ESPN staff
March 14, 2014
David Moyes says he wants Manchester United to overturn their 2-0 Champions League first-leg deficit against Olympiakos © Getty Images

Jose Mourinho has claimed he always backs Chelsea's fellow Premier League sides in the Champions League.

Arsenal and Manchester City have already been knocked out of the competition in the last 16 by Bayern Munich and Barcelona respectively.

But the Chelsea manager insists he wanted both sides to progress to the quarter-finals, and says he hopes Manchester United can turn around their 2-0 first leg deficit against Olympiakos.

"I think Man United is a better team than Olympiakos, I think Man United can do it, I wish Man United to do it," said Mourinho.

"I support the English teams and I was not happy that they [City and Arsenal] are out of the competition."

Mourinho's comments sprung from a verbal spat with Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, whom he suggested was guilty of misinterpretation when he accused him of using press conferences to intimidate his opponents.

Toure claimed Mourinho "talks too much" and had disrespected City with his increasing use of mind games as the Premier League title race hots up. City trail Chelsea by nine points, but have three games in hand on them.

Yet Mourinho was quick to insist his messages of good will towards Arsenal and City ahead of their Champions League matches against Bayern and Barcelona were not designed to pour pressure on his domestic rivals.

"He [Toure] has a strange concept of lack of respect," said Mourinho.

"If to say before the Munich match and Camp Nou match, this is not over, Arsenal and City have enough quality to turn things around, if to support the teams in the country where I work, if this is lack of respect, okay.

"I think Arsenal and City show in Munich and Barcelona that I was right. They both play very good matches. This is not a lack of respect, this is support.

"The same way I say Man City have three matches in hand [in the Premier League]. They are capable of winning all three and be top of the league. I try in both occasions to be respectful with the two English teams."

He added: "If tomorrow, Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie or Michael Carrick or Rio Ferdinand come and say Mourinho is not being respectful with us, I think they are wrong.

"I don't want to say anything else. I don't want to be misinterpreted. I don't want another big Man City player to say I'm disrespectful."

It may be that Chelsea are the only Premier League side left in the Champions League by next weekend as they prepare for the second leg of their last-16 clash against Galatasaray. Yet Mourinho would not be drawn on whether Chelsea's extended European run would distract from his side's domestic title ambitions.

"It depends on us," added Mourinho. "If we managed to go through, we will have two big matches against a big opponent and that means a lot.

"If Galatasaray beat us and we are out of the Champions League, then everyone is in the same conditions."

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