Jose Mourinho says he felt no sympathy for Arsène Wenger when Chelsea thrashed Arsenal 6-0 on their last meeting in Stamford Bridge in March.
That defeat, which was the last time the clubs met, represented Mourinho’s biggest win over the French manager. It also happened to come on the occasion of Wenger’s 1,000th game, further deepening the wound.
It was put to Mourinho that Alex Ferguson once said he wanted Manchester United’s 8-2 win over Arsenal in 2011 to stop, but the Portuguese insisted he never thought along such lines: “Sorry for what? That’s football. I just play the matches the way they have to be played. If you can win 5-0, you don’t win 4-0.”
Some might call that ruthlessness, others professionalism. Mourinho, however, said he respected a similar sense of professionalism in Cesc Fabregas. The midfielder’s decision to move from Barcelona to Chelsea had raised eyebrows, and could have been fraught with complications given his history with Arsenal, not to mention the suggestions that Wenger turned down the deal.
Despite all that, Mourinho said it was one of his easiest ever signings, and took just 10 minutes to agree: “I think he’s a professional, a top professional. For me, it was great confirmation.
“When I invited him for the meeting, he told me immediately, ‘Yes’. So that is the point. I spoke with him and after 10 minutes he was telling me that he wanted to join us. What happened before that, I don’t know. I know that after that we did things properly.”
Mourinho emphasised to Fabregas he wanted to build a midfield around him: “We spoke about football, we spoke about Chelsea project, we spoke about where I want him to play, the way I want him to transform my team, the Chelsea philosophy also as a club… not specifically, because this is not my job, we spoke in general terms about what we would be able to pay to Barcelona, what we would be able to pay to him, not to be decided there because, again, that is not part of my job, but just to give him an idea and after that he was telling me, ‘Yes, I want to go, no doubt’.
“I said: ‘With me, you are playing here or there. This is the way we want to play, this is how we want to develop the team. No way with me you are going to play fake No 9 or outside-left or right. No, what I need from you is this, this and this. Everything is so clear.”
Reflecting how Fabregas set aside emotion to join Chelsea, Mourinho also set aside his personal life to secure the deal. In order to meet Fabregas in June, the Chelsea manager missed his son’s victory with Fulham in the Jeno Konrad Under-14 Trophy.
“My son was in Germany with Fulham. They qualified to play the final against [Paris Saint-Germain]. I wanted to go. That’s normal. I never go. That weekend I wanted to go. But it was that day [Fabregas] could travel to London. So I had to stay. No problem. I will watch my son play other times. They won 1-0. They won the tournament.”Reuse content