Take me as I am, says a contrite Mourinho

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho said yesterday that he had not read the reprimand he received from the Football Association for his "silence" gesture at last weekend's Carling Cup final - and insisted that the problem may be that English football is "not used to a person like me".

However, the Chelsea manager admitted he had learnt lessons from the incident last Sunday which led to him being led away from the touchline. "Every country is different and the professionals have to adapt to the country," Mourinho said. "I have to respect what is important for people who rule football here. If I want to be here I have to accept their rules."

That, however, does not stretch to reading the letter from the FA reminding him of his managerial duties. "I don't read the warning," Mourinho said. "I just know that I'm not suspended from my work in the dug-out and that's what matters to me." He said the gesture - in which he raised his finger to his lips - and the reaction to it "was a clear example" of what he cannot do "because I don't want the police to put me in the dressing room again".

Mourinho has expressed his frustration in recent weeks and explained yesterday that he is learning "what is and isn't possible" - but also said that England, and the media, had to come to terms with him.

"Maybe, over the years, you face managers who behave another way, with a different personality," he said. "Maybe it's the first time, I don't think it is, but maybe it's the first time you have someone who behaves like me and says what I say and is so open or is not afraid to say what he feels and he thinks.

"It would be easier for me to say 'oh, we have six points more than Man Utd but everything is possible, in the last game we will see what happens, we have a lot of respect'. This is what happens in football every day. For you, somebody says 'we are going to be champions' and that is a drama, a lack of respect, a lack of humility. If this is your way of these things then I have to understand it. But in this way I won't change. I just change in things that are purely forbidden." Such as the gesture.

Mourinho said that, come the end of the season and Chelsea are not champions, then "you can say 'you were over-confident'. But that's the way I am." He refused to be drawn, however, on criticisms from his old mentor, Sir Bobby Robson, that he needs to learn how to lose. "It's something I don't comment (on)," he said. It is also something that he simply does not contemplate. It was another bravura performance, and Mourinho was speaking as Chelsea confirmed that they are seeking compensation over Adrian Mutu's move to Juventus. A claim has been filed and will be heard by the FA Premier League appeal committee later this month over the player who cost more than £15m but was sacked in October for testing positive for cocaine.

Chelsea want compensation based on the 26-year-old's transfer value - a fee of £8m has been mentioned - and sporting sanctions against the player under article 42 of Fifa's Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players.

Today, Chelsea meet Norwich City. By the time they kick off, at tea-time, their lead could have been reduced to three points. Not that Mourinho is perturbed. "Our situation gives us space to make a little bit of mistakes," he said. "Not many. Not three or four consecutive mistakes. But a little." He said he was not "afraid" how his players would react after last weekend's cup victory. "Sometimes you win a cup and the next game you are a bit on the moon. I don't think it's the case," Mourinho said.

He professed surprise at the concentration last week - and the week before, after the Champions' League tie against Barcelona - on him rather than the team. "I don't want that. It's not me," Mourinho said. "I'm a group man, a man who works for results. I'm not interested in myself, my image, in what people think about me." Tellingly, he added: "Some of the things I say, some of the things I do is just sticking [up] for the group. The players know me." And they appreciate it. Their ranks have been swelled with the return to training, after his broken foot, of Arjen Robben, while Scott Parker and Robert Huth are also close to playing again.

"The team is confident, as I am," Mourinho said. "I would not be if I didn't see it in my players. If I saw them shaking I wouldn't say 'I think we are going to win the Premiership'." It's not a lack of respect, it's "inner belief". And there, perhaps English football needs to understand, is the key.

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