Liverpool v Chelsea: Jose Mourinho threatens to play weakened side at Anfield after losing Petr Cech and John Terry during Atletico Madrid tie
'If we have to play the kids, we play the kids,' claims the manager
Jose Mourinho sparked a potentially major controversy in the Premier League season when he said tonight he would field a considerably weakened team against Liverpool on Sunday in what will be a critical game in the title race.
Against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-final first leg, the Chelsea manager lost Petr Cech for the rest of the season to a suspected dislocated shoulder and John Terry to an ankle injury which his manager said will mean he would only be back in time to play the final, should Chelsea reach it. They drew 0-0 with Atletico in Spain, laying the groundwork for what they hope will be a victory in the second leg in London next Wednesday.
However, it is the scheduling of the Liverpool game just three days before his side face Atletico that Mourinho was most concerned about, saying that he would seek the permission of Roman Abramovich before going ahead with his plan to play a weaker team at Anfield.
Chelsea trail leaders Liverpool by five points with three games to play and defeat would end their hopes of the title. Manchester City have a six-point deficit to Liverpool but have four games to play, and need Chelsea to win in order to keep their hopes alive. The Premier League rule that forbade clubs from fielding a weakened team no longer exists, after Blackpool fell foul of it in 2011.
Mourinho confirmed that winning the Champions League now took priority over the title race. Bringing up the subject of Sunday’s game himself in the post-match press conference he said, “If we have to play the kids, we play the kids.”
Read more: Comment: Courtois does the job for Atletico
Atletico 0 Chelsea 0 match report
Atletico v Chelsea as it happened
He added: “I can't decide by myself. That's a decision I have to listen to the club. I'm just the manager and I have to listen to the club. The fact that the match is on Sunday, I think puts the problem not in my hands but in the hands of those who decide the game should be on Sunday and not Saturday or Friday.
“We represent English football and are the only team in European competitions. Spain has four and gave them all the conditions to try to have success, so I know what I would do. But I'm not the club. I have to speak to them. I would play with the players who are not going to play Wednesday [against Atletico].”
Asked why that should not be his decision he said: “I'm not the most important person in the club ... everybody is above me. I work for them and have to follow what my club decides.”
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Latest in Sport
Manchester City vs Manchester United combined XI: No place for Yaya Toure... or any United defenders
Sami Khedira transfer news: Arsenal can win the Premier League if they sign Khedira in January, says Perry Groves
Paul Scholes: At last! Some credit for Sam Allardyce
Manchester City vs Manchester United analysis: Manuel Pellegrini has no excuse for City's lack of a Plan B, writes Danny Higginbotham
Impressive Kurt Zouma may save Chelsea millions by replacing John Terry
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything