He may not have been at the stadium but Jose Mourinho spoke at Stamford Bridge all the same last night.
He may not have been in the stadium but Jose Mourinho spoke at Stamford Bridge all the same last night. The Uefa ban did not apply to his programme notes and in them his declaration that "if I say what I feel in my soul, I will attract more headlines and more trouble" was unequivocal.
For whatever hurt he feels there will, today, be balm. His extended five-year contract which will see his pay as Chelsea manager rise to £5.2m a year should be finalised. It certainly was not supposed to leak out as it did on Tuesday night following the hastily arranged negotiations which he brought about between his agent, Jorge Mendes, and Chelsea.
Given that Mourinho calls his current £4.2m deal, which has just over two years to run, "extraterrestrial" then goodness knows what description can be applied to Chelsea's offer especially as his belligerent tactics, and his threats of departure, his complaints of lacking support, have forced their hand. Mourinho was certainly also annoyed that news of his deal had distracted from last night's match.
He had absented himself, of course. The Uefa ban only prevented him from being on the touchline. Instead, and in a mark of protest as well as a calculated psychological ploy, he preferred to watch from a health club behind the ground. However, there was the intriguing sight of one of his staff, the fitness coach Rui Faria, sitting at the back of the dug-out with his hat pulled tightly down and passing notes to assistant manager Steve Clarke at the front. Was Mourinho again using communication devices to get his message across, as he has done before, even though he knows by doing so he risks further punishment? Faria's actions aroused the suspicions of a Uefa official, who spoke to the bench, but Chelsea's other assistant manager, Baltemar Brito, stressed that there was "no contact with Mourinho".
The manager wrote in his notes "My message to the press is this: please concentrate on the pitch," but it was difficult to do so, especially with Faria's actions. "You don't have to try to find me, you can't," Mourinho added. "Please don't spend your time doing that."
Last night he was joined in the "private place" by Mendes, who is trusted implicitly and to such an extent that Mourinho absented himself completely from talks.
Chelsea have attempted to play down the crisis, with Mourinho complaining about everything from the way he has been implicated in the Ashley Cole tapping-up incident to the role of the club's chairman Bruce Buck. But the fact that the contract negotiations took place in the run-up to Chelsea's biggest game of the season shows how serious the situation was.
It is indeed unheard of even if Chelsea claim not to have been surprised. But then again they were warned and by Mourinho himself. When he arrived he made it clear that he would be high-maintenance, that he would expect a lot in return for his intense commitment.
It also quickly transpired that he is not easy to please. Happiness, even Mourinho's friends admit, is a relative concept. "He is happier rather than happy," one close associate said. What was more important, his friends claim, is not the stellar contract but that Chelsea have explained their position and acted on his demands and his grievances. He feels vindicated.
However the issue of the contract undoubtedly rankled and simply because Mourinho had made it plain before Christmas that he wanted a longer deal. The response he got back was not discouraging but Abramovich expected negotiations to take place after the season's end. Mourinho is a calculating character and even his most apparently spontaneous actions are usually thought through.
Chelsea have been warned and despite the new deal they know that another drama may be just around the corner. They expect it. It's just Jose's way.
"It is strange that in this industry, when you say what you feel and believe, you pay for it," he said, again in his notes. Pay for it and, of course, get paid handsomely for it.
MONEY TALKS: TOP MANAGERS' EARNINGS IN EUROPE
|Sven Goran Eriksson||England||£4m|
|Sir Alex Ferguson||Manchester United||£3.6m|
Roberto Mancini Inter £1.7m
Carlo Ancelotti Milan low basic wage with big bonuses according to results
Felix Magath Bayern Munich £3m
All figures show basic salary
* Ranieri's wage at time of sackingReuse content