Chelsea play Arsenal, the side that finished runners-up to them in the Premiership last season, at Stamford Bridge tomorrow. After an indifferent opening performance at Wigan last Sunday many a manager would have opted for a low-key approach, stressing the unity of his squad. Mourinho, however, had other ideas.
Incensed by the complaints made by defender Ricardo Carvalho during the week about being dropped for the Wigan game, Mourinho revelled in the opportunity to exert his authority and revealed he had humiliated Carvalho in front of his team-mates.
Mourinho had already said Carvalho needed an IQ test, but yesterday as he introduced Chelsea's record £25m signing, the Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien, Mourinho said: "I love these problems. You can imagine Essien yesterday in the dressing-room: [His] first meeting with Chelsea [and the] manager killed Ricardo Carvalho in front of everybody.
"I had a private conversation with Ricardo [last Saturday to say he was dropped] but that was not enough. He had a reaction that the whole world saw and could read, so I felt why not in front of the family? I won't say what went on in that meeting. I never apologise to my players and I don't want them to apologise to me. I want an open relationship, one where we can speak to each other face to face and say what we feel. That's what he didn't do and then I found out in Hungary on Wednesday on the internet what he said."
Carvalho had said he found it "incomprehensible" that he had been dropped for the game that Chelsea ultimately won in injury time but Mourinho yesterday revealed his reasons: William Gallas and John Terry, the defensive partnership last weekend, had conceded only two goals in 20 games together last season.
"It's pure mathematics," Mourinho said. "You don't need to be clever to understand. It's not philosophy. I told him that last Saturday, so I was surprised with his reaction."
Carvalho will not start tomorrow's game, but Mourinho made it clear that he will not be selling Carvalho before the transfer window shuts at the end of the month.
"There is no chance of him leaving," Mourinho added. "Especially after this. I cannot let a player go or sell him after he has given this sort of interview. If I let him go then it is easy for a player to think, 'I want to leave and I will give this sort of interview'. He stays here, no offer can take him away and he will have plenty of time to understand. I don't need to be in love with my players, I just need to have a correct relationship with them."
Mourinho felt that something positive would come out of his attack on his player. "It was good that Essien saw that meeting because now, if he doesn't need an IQ test, he understands me from the first moment."
Carvalho issued an apology yesterday to his team-mates.
Looking ahead to the game, Mourinho acknowledged his Arsenal counterpart Arsène Wenger's achievement in taking charge of his 500th Gunners game but added that whoever wins will not establish a notable advantage in the title race.
Mourinho said: "Everybody knows what a great job Wenger has done at Arsenal and I will congratulate him. Especially for a foreigner in England. He has not had success in Europe, but he can be very proud of what he has done in England."
However, Mourinho, who led his team to a 2-1 victory against their north London rivals in the Community Shield a fortnight ago, is more concerned that his players show more conviction than they did against Wigan last weekend, when they won thanks to Hernan Crespo's late strike. He said: "I could smell in the build-up that they were not 100 per cent. But I was not shocked because this is football and these are the sorts of games I don't like. But I would be surprised if we were not at 100 per cent against Arsenal."
Wenger criticised Mourinho's tactics in the win in Cardiff, claiming they used long balls. But the Portuguese responded that Arsenal can just as easily revert to an aerial assault.
However, what is certain is Ricardo Carvalho will not be there to do battle in the air or on the ground.
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