Mourinho intent on getting his point across

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, insists he will not be silenced as he waits for the Football Association to determine if he will be punished for calling Wigan's Lee McCulloch a "cheat".

The Portuguese coach has been one of the most outspoken in the Premiership since he took charge of Chelsea in the summer of 2004. However, he stands by his right to say his piece.

"Everyone has a right to an opinion. I can arrive in England and express my opinion," Mourinho said. "If criticism were ferocious and without intellectual objectivity they should show me the way to their airport.

"It is important to have an opinion and not be afraid to express it, knowing there will be criticism."

His first season at the club was littered with rows involving Uefa and the Football Association as well as referees, managers and players.

Mourinho was called "the enemy of football" last season when he claimed the Swedish referee Anders Frisk was spotted talking to Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard in the tunnel at the Nou Camp during their Champions' League match. His comments sparked death threats to Frisk from irate Chelsea fans and even eventually led to the official's premature retirement from the game.

Uefa later dismissed his comments after an investigation into the incident and banned him from the touchline for both legs of Chelsea's quarter-final tie with Bayern Munich.

Mourinho was also fined £5,000 by the FA for alleging Manchester United were "cheats" and this season his unsavoury public dispute with Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has refused to die down.

Meanwhile, the England midfielder Joe Cole is not getting carried away by his outstanding form for the club. Cole was singled out for another superb performance against Arsenal - scoring the decisive second goal to restore Chelsea's lead at the top of the Premiership to nine points.

But the former West Ham United player knows one bad game can put you back on the substitutes' bench. "At a club like this you can't afford not to play well," Cole admitted.

"You have to be at the top of your game every week. I've had a good 2005 and I want to end it well and start the next year well, too. You are only as good as your last game."

Cole, like coach Mourinho, knows December and January are vital months if this season Chelsea are to become the first club since Manchester United to win back-to-back titles.

Their victory over Arsenal has set them up for their Christmas and New Year campaign which begins against Fulham at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day.

"This is the vital part of the season for us, all the way up to the West Ham game in the new year," Cole said. "If we can still keep the same gap or possibly extend it by then we'll be flying."

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