Victory for Mourinho as Chelsea back down and offer record deal

By Jason Burt
Thursday 02 April 2009 23:41

Jose Mourinho last night appeared to have won his battle with Chelsea after the Premiership club agreed to his demands that they need to offer him more support ­ and they agreed to improve his £4.2m a year contract.

Jose Mourinho last night appeared to have won his battle with Chelsea after the Premiership club agreed to his demands that they need to offer him more support ­ and they agreed to improve his £4.2m a year contract.

Mourinho's agent, Jorge Mendes, met Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich yesterday to agree a new five-year deal ­ worth £5.2m a year ­ for Mourinho, eclipsing Frank Lampard's recently improved £5m contract.

Victory for Mourinho follows a series of meetings ­ involving Mendes, Abramovich and chief executive Peter Kenyon ­ which took place as Mourinho's most trusted assistant, Baltemar Brito, went public with the manager's anger, confirming that he felt he had been let down by Chelsea, not least over the failure to appeal the two-match ban imposed last week by Uefa.

Brito also announced that Mourinho would not even be at Stamford Bridge for tonight's Champions' League quarter-final against Bayern Munich. Instead, Mourinho is expected to watch the match on television at home even though his ban, for bringing the game into disrepute, only prevents him from being on the touchline or in the dressing room. He would be allowed to be in the stands but Brito said he would be "in a private place on his own - a very peaceful place".

Abramovich is understood to have listened to Mourinho's complaints and agreed that changes need to be made and that they must consult more over strategy and how the club reacts. The manager has, in return, promised not to go public with his attacks.

Brito also said that Mourinho would not use a mobile phone or other devices tonight to try to contact his coaches or players even though Uefa later admitted there was nothing they could do to prevent him. Uefa will not "shadow or police" Mourinho, their media delegate, Fritz Ahlstrom, confirmed. Instead they will rely on "trust".

If Mourinho did use any means of communicating with his team he would be acting in contravention of the Uefa ban and liable to further punishment. However, during a similar ban imposed two years ago while manager of Porto, he used text-messaging to contact his bench during the second leg of their Uefa Cup semi-final against Lazio in Rome. Not only that, Mourinho then boasted of doing so in a biography published about him last year.

"I read the book," Ahlstrom said. "It is not a problem to make a mistake. It is a problem to repeat a mistake." However, he added: "It's not up to us to control Jose. We have taken a decision whether they like it or not and we assume it will be respected by Jose and Chelsea."

Brito conveyed Mourinho's anger. "He's not happy," he said. "He feels hard done by over the ban situation." Nothing, however, prevented Mourinho from speaking at yesterday's official Uefa press conference, but he chose not to attend and to send Brito instead. Brito had been fully briefed by Mourinho beforehand and his message was clear and unequivocal.

Brito confirmed that Mourinho was upset at Chelsea's stance over the touchline ban and that it formed only part of his growing frustrations. He said: "When Jose comes to a club or starts a new job, he gives 100 per cent and expects 100 per cent back. Jose felt he did not get 100 per cent back."

It was the first public acknowledgement of a problem which has festered for some time and exploded at the end of last week with Chelsea's refusal to appeal Uefa's decision. Initially, when the story of Mourinho's reaction broke, the club tried to laugh it off as an April Fool's joke, but now they realise the manager was serious.

Mourinho has specific complaints about the way the incident in Barcelona, which sparked the Uefa hearing, was handled and how he feels he was implicated by Chelsea in the Ashley Cole "tapping-up" affair. Mourinho was also annoyed at the silence last week following accusations by the Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, that Chelsea lacked "moral leadership".

Mourinho is thought to favour some restructuring of the club's organisation, although Chelsea deny this and claim many of his complaints are simply due to a clash of cultures.

It amounted to an amazing situation, especially in the run-up to Chelsea's most important match of the season so far. Yesterday, Brito insisted that Mourinho's absence would not affect the team's chances. "It will be the same as when he is on the bench," he said. "I don't think there will be that much difference. We have no tricks lined up. I've worked with Jose for four years and I know his way of thinking pretty much spot on."

Brito will make decisions along with the assistant manager, Steve Clarke, who also could have spoken at yesterday's conference but did not because of his involvement in the events at the Nou Camp.

Brito added: "We work closely enough with the players during the week so on the day of the game there is no need to have that extra special trick or way of being in contact. I have a mobile but I switch it off two hours before kick-off and I do not take it with me on the bench."

He insisted that Mourinho's preparations were so detailed that nothing would be left to chance. "He does that in the week leading up to the game so his colleagues know what to do in advance," Brito said. "Although I will be on the bench, it will be Jose making the decisions because he is such a talented coach, he can think ahead. But we have the ability to make any sudden changes in his absence. We will have a meeting in the hotel and Jose will be there.

"As soon as the draw was announced Jose started in-depth analysis. Our style will be different to the way we played against Barcelona and it should be a good game." Even for those watching on television.

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