• Champions League

Mourinho questions Rodgers rotation

ESPN staff
November 5, 2014
Mourinho: The 6-0 win is a fake situation

Jose Mourinho says he would not follow Brendan Rodgers' approach in selecting a weakened team to face "the most difficult opponents".

Rodgers rested key personnel for Liverpool's 1-0 defeat to reigning European champions Real Madrid on Tuesday, including captain Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling, who both came off the bench in the second half.

It was an indication Rodgers is prioritising the visit of Premier League leaders Chelsea to Anfield on Saturday. Liverpool will enter Saturday's match having had 24 hours' more rest than Mourinho's side and with their hopes of Champions League progression hinging on their final two group games, against Bulgaria's Ludogorets and Swiss side Basel.

Jose hits out over fixture pile-up

Mourinho: "They are not listening" © Getty Images
  • Jose Mourinho has hit out at BT Sport over their scheduling of Chelsea's Saturday lunchtime kick-off against Liverpool at Anfield.
  • Chelsea face a quick turnaround after tonight's Champions League game at Maribor, while Liverpool will have had 24 hours' more rest after their 1-0 defeat at Real Madrid.
  • "I know, but what do you want me to do? What can I say? They are not listening, of course not.," he said. "I did not bother asking about changing the game."
  • Mourinho was angered last season by the scheduling of a trip to Liverpool in between two Champions League semi-finals against Atletico Madrid, when he accused those of compiling the Premier League fixture list of "laughing" at Chelsea.
  • Now he has again spoken out, despite signing a three-year contract with BT Sport as a "football expert" this summer.

"If Liverpool decide to rest players when they play against the European champions it's a question for the Liverpool manager, it's not a question for me," Mourinho, whose Chelsea side play Maribor in the Champions League on Wednesday night, said prior to Liverpool's match.

"I don't speak about Liverpool. I speak about myself. If one day I go to a game and I don't feel I can win, maybe I don't go.

"Normally, against the most difficult opponents, normally I will try to go with my best team.''

Chelsea are in a stronger position domestically and in Europe than Liverpool, having beaten Slovenian champions Maribor 6-0 two weeks ago at Stamford Bridge as part of their unbeaten 15-match start to the season.

If Chelsea win and Sporting Lisbon do not beat Schalke, Mourinho's side progress with two matches to spare and will be in pole position to finish top of the standings and claim a favourable last-16 draw.

Mourinho feels a responsibility for Chelsea to perform at Maribor, in an ominous warning to hosts for whom merely reaching the group stages is an achievement.

"I like this concept of going with a big club, full of big players to a country, a stadium, a city where normally they don't come," Mourinho added.

"To come here, to play here, I think we have responsibility to play for us and also to play for the people.

"I know they want to win - they don't want us to win - but to play for the people is to play well, and to show what we can do, to show the quality players we have, to show the quality team we have."

Mourinho, who is without striker Loic Remy (groin) and midfielder John Obi Mikel (knee), is taking nothing for granted and described the Stamford Bridge result as "fake".

He added: "The 6-0 win is a fake situation. Normally Chelsea to score goals needs a lot [of chances]. Against Maribor everything went in our direction. The first opportunity we had was a goal, the second one a goal, and so on.

"[But] I know they are a good team. I analysed them against Sporting and Schalke. I need to convince the players that the game at Stamford Bridge was one of these matches where everything goes in our direction."

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