As if on the search for more insurrection, the Chelsea manager even took his place in the back row of the audience for the launch of John Terry's new book, My Winning Season, at Stamford Bridge yesterday but if it was more murmurs of discontent he expected to hear then Mourinho was in the wrong place. Less than 24 hours after Chelsea's victory over Arsenal, Terry offered an endorsement of his manager's ruthless selection policy and challenged his team-mates to win their place in the side.
Both Carvalho and Arjen Robben have voiced their displeasure at the prospect of spending long periods of time on the bench - Joe Cole was not even among the substitutes on Sunday - and the Portuguese defender has already paid dearly for it. But a quick flick through Terry's book will tell you that he still fears Mourinho and has not forgotten a serious admonishing for mistakenly arriving late before last season's home match against Blackburn Rovers.
Yesterday Terry told his team-mates that if they held issue with Mourinho then they had a chance, one that was passed up by Carvalho, to challenge him at the team's weekly meeting. "Get it out of the way," he warned. "The manager has always said in meetings, 'If anyone has anything to say to me whether it is bad or good, get up and say it'. Have the bottle to get up and say it. Let's clear things now rather than players having things on their chest on Saturdays when things are still bugging them."
The Chelsea captain would be entitled to think that, with six points from their first two games and the first league victory over Arsenal in 19 matches, they have made their point that this will be a very serious defence of the Premiership title. The issue of who plays and who has to watch is one that is likely to plague Chelsea all season but Terry's point of reference was Mourinho's first meeting of the season when he promised all his squad some involvement.
Terry said: "When the manager sat us all down pre-season he said, 'We have a lot of players and a lot of games coming up over the space of four weeks and players are going to play'. Players who are not on the bench may start against West Brom [tomorrow]. You cannot go away from a game if you are not involved thinking, 'I am fed up with it'.
"We did not have that last year and thankfully we have not got that this year. It is only good for the team when a player gets it off his chest. It has been taken out of hand what has gone on over the last few days with Riccy's and Robbie's [Robben] comments. If players are not getting picked and they are happy about not getting picked then we have problems.
"We have good problems at Chelsea. The players want to play in a good side and things are going well for Chelsea. Players want to be part of that and they are going to be frustrated when they are not playing."
Terry held the example of Cole as indicative of how an unpromising Chelsea career could be turned around. While Scott Parker, one of the club captain's best friends at the club, had to pursue his career elsewhere, Cole forced his way into the reckoning when injury presented him with the opportunity last season. Although his exclusion from the squad on Sunday, following England's débâcle in Denmark last week, must have been difficult to accept.
"Players have to have that drive," Terry said. "Look at Coley last year when he got his chance, he came in, scored goals and was playing well. He did not have that opportunity then we had a few injuries. He played five or six games on the bounce and that did him the world of good.
"He looked fitter and sharper and he stayed in the side for the rest of the season. If the manager has an opinion about something and says, 'You need to defend more and forget the attacking side - you are playing first of all for the team' ... he took it on the chin and listened to what the manager said to him."
The first Chelsea league victory over Arsenal since September 1995 was the first in Terry's time at the club and the first defeat of its kind for Ashley Cole who criticised referee Graham Poll for "killing" the game with two crucial decisions. The Arsenal left-back was brought down by William Gallas in the first half for what he believed was a penalty and claimed that Didier Drogba's 73rd minute winner was offside.
"We told the referee and linesman but maybe they missed it and there's nothing we can do but again, it is those kind of decisions that are killing teams," Cole said. "You see them week in, week out. Of course, there was the Jermaine Jenas thing [red card] which has now been rescinded. Of course it's hard for them [referees] but it does kill the game sometimes."
- More about:
- Arjen Robben
- Blackburn Rovers
- Chelsea F.c.
- John Terry
- Jose Mourinho
- Real Madrid
- Stamford Bridge