Jose Mourinho insists he will be acting in the best interests of Chelsea when he names his side for Sunday’s crunch clash with Liverpool.
Chelsea manager Mourinho suggested that he would name a weakened starting XI against the Premier League leaders after Tuesday’s goalless draw in their UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg at Atletico Madrid.
With the return tie taking place at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday, the Portuguese stated that he would be in favour of making changes with one eye on the clash against the La Liga leaders, despite the fact that the London club are only five points behind Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Mourinho was asked whether an under-strength side would question the integrity of the Premier League, but the 51-year-old explained that his only concern is with his own team.
“I keep that (team selection) private,” he said.”Ask the competition (if rotating questions integrity), I cannot answer.
“The most important thing for me is my club and the supporters of my club. I have to defend my club and Chelsea supporters.
“If we are not helped to try to follow our dreams and objectives, (it is) one more reason for us to think about us and only us. Wait for Sunday and you will know our team.”
The former Real Madrid boss was pressed on whether Chelsea’s supporters would be disappointed to see a raft of changes, but Mourinho believes the Stamford Bridge faithful would understand the decision.
“I think Chelsea fans would like Chelsea Football Club to be respected and to get the respect that Chelsea,” he added.
“They know what Chelsea did. not just for the club, but for English football as well. It’s the last club (in England) to be European champion, to win (the) Europa League.
“(The) second thing they want is Chelsea to go to Liverpool at the maximum, giving everything they have. Which players play is our decision, not your decision.”
Mourinho cut a frustrated figure throughout his press conference, explaining that he did not “feel free” following a Football Association charge, administered after he congratulated referee Mike Dean for his “unbelievable ” performance at Stamford Bridge in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Sunderland.
The governing body deemed his words to be calling the integrity of the official into question, but Mourinho sees things differently.
He added: “Every time I speak there is a consequence, even if I say the referee is amazing that is enough to be hit with a charge, so I don’t feel free at all. If you want a better press conference speak with the FA not with me.”
Mourinho also confirmed that captain John Terry and forward Eden Hazard will not recover from ankle and calf injuries respectively, and both are doubtful for Atletico on Wednesday.