Chelsea vs Arsenal: 'Cesc Fabregas loves Chelsea,' says Jose Mourinho

Manager has veiled dig at his Arsenal counterpart for not re-signing former captain ahead of Sunday’s league clash

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The Independent Football

A Barcelona boy, with a north London footballing education, it is hard to know quite where Cesc Fabregas’s heart lies, but his new manager, Jose Mourinho, is in no doubt. “He loves Chelsea already,” he said on Friday of the former Arsenal captain. “He’s so happy: the way he plays, the way he’s a member of the squad, the way he lives in this little blue village. It’s like he’s been here for a long time.”

The Chelsea manager claimed he does not even know if Arsenal, who visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday in a match that pits the only two unbeaten sides in the Premier League against each other, had declined to take up the option of signing Fabregas, a right they had after a clause was written into the player’s Barcelona contract – and nor does he care.

“If you ask him now if he regrets the move, I’m sure he’d say no,” Mourinho added. “If you ask him if he’d choose a different option, he’d say no. And if you ask him where he thinks he’ll be in five years’ time, he’d say he sees himself for the next five years at Chelsea. He is Chelsea.”

So should he celebrate if he were to score against Arsenal? “He should score,” Mourinho said. “If he celebrates or not – I don’t care. When my team, Inter Milan, scored against Chelsea, and my team did three times, two in Milan and one at Stamford Bridge, I didn’t celebrate. I was happy, you can’t imagine how happy I was. But the point is not whether you celebrate or not. If you can’t control your emotion, you can’t. It’s all right.”

Chelsea’s early lead at the top of the league owes much to the fact that their summer signings, Fabregas and Diego Costa, have required no time to find their best form, not that this has surprised their manager. “I wanted [Fabregas] because I know the player he is. He was made in England, and played for so many years in English football, he doesn’t need that adaptation. He comes back home. We knew he was perfect for us.”

Despite both teams being unbeaten so far in the league this season, a Chelsea win would take them nine points ahead of Arsenal – and any repeat of the hammering they dished out at the Bridge last season (a 6-0 win) would do wonders for confidence. Mourinho, however, is not predicting a similar outcome.


“A result like that happens once every 50 years, not every year,” Mourinho said. “It was not normal because Chelsea and Arsenal matches are usually close, so it was a bad day for Arsenal and an unbelievable day for us.

“But me against Arsène Wenger? I never had the pleasure of playing against him one against one, I’ve never played him at beach soccer, its always between Chelsea and Arsenal and Sunday’s game is out of context to the past. What happened in the past, happened in the past.”

Mourinho also refused to apologise for notoriously calling Wenger a “specialist in failure” last year. He also congratulated him on his 18th anniversary as Arsenal manager, even if, as is Mourinho’s way, such congratulation seemed to contain the seed of criticism.

“It is an amazing achievement, congratulations to him and the club because it is not just to do with the manager’s quality but also the philosophy of the club, so obviously I congratulate both.”

Mourinho seemed to be asking if any other club of Arsenal’s magnitude, would have held on to the same manager through nine trophyless years before turning to the teams’ unbeaten starts.

“It’s difficult to be unbeatable in the Premier League,” Mourinho added. “So difficult that, out of 20, only two have done it after six matches. Not after 20, after six. It shows what the Premier League is. It’s not easy to any one of us to play against the other. Two unbeaten teams.”

If both are still unbeaten come Sunday evening, it is reasonable to imagine it will be Mourinho who will be the more disappointed of the two managers.