Jose Mourinho storms out of press conference ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League clash

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After weeks of mounting pressure, it seems as though the first few cracks are beginning to show at Chelsea.

Manager Jose Mourinho stormed out of his prematch press conference, ahead of the Blues’ game against Steaue Bucharest on Tuesday.

Annoyed with the questions the gathered media were asking, Mourinho got up and left. Questions about the absence of Kevin De Bruyne in Chelsea’s squad seemed to especially annoy him, as the Blues manager has been under incedible pressure following his sides lackluster start to the campaign, with 11 points from six games so far.

And today in the Romanian capital, Mourinho left Frank Lampard hanging as he waltzed out of a press conference and was visibly irritated by the media.

“This is fantastic because nobody asks me about Mata. You are for three weeks speaking about Mata, and now you are speaking about Kevin de Bruyne,” Mourinho said. “So you are not interested in the players that are playing? You are interested in the players that are not playing. He was not selected. It was my decision.”

(MORE: Jose Mourinho fuming at Jan Vertonghen after Fernando Torres sent off)

On Saturday following Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham, I was lucky enough to hold court with Mourinho as he spoke to the press openly about a plethora of topics. Then, completely out of the blue, one journalist literally stood up and asked about De Bruyne’s lack of playing time and why he was not in the team.

Mourinho seemed taken aback and slightly confused.

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The man in question, Kevin De Bruyne.

“Are you Belgian?” Mouirnho asked the journalist. “No? When I was in Inter, I had every press conference one guy that was asking me, ‘why not Patrick Vieria.’ And the guy was French. Every press conference the guy was asking me about Patrick. ‘Is he playing? Why didn’t he play? Why you take him off?’ Only with Patrick. You’re the guy for Kevin.”

But giving a serious answer about De Bruyne’s omission from the squad, Mourinho believes he has to follow in Juan Mata’s footsteps and prove that he’s a valuable member of the squad. He also wasn’t impressed with De Bruyne’s latest performance.

“That’s what I am waiting for, that’s what I hope. I can be unfair sometimes and make mistakes. But I always try to be honest with the players, and I always try to make my decisions based on what they do in training and games. I played Kevin against Swindon, I didn’t like. I didn’t like. What I want is the players to perform.”

(MORE: All-square between the master and his apprentice, as Chelsea fight back to draw at Tottenham)

So, I’m now sat here wondering if this one journalist has followed Mourinho from North London on Saturday afternoon, to Bucharest on Monday, just to ask the same question about De Bruyne. Yes, this guy has the right to keep asking the question. But it’s obviously not that relevant, as De Bruyne will be a good squad player, at best, this season.

Mourinho’s antics with the press over the years are well-known, but on Saturday when I spoke with him, his general demeanor seemed cool and calm and he cracked jokes throughout his answers.

But it seems like enough is enough. Bucharest and De Bruyne obviously aren’t a good combination for the Special One.

LIVE – Champions League playoff: Nice-Napoli headlines action

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With Celtic (just about) booking their spot in the UEFA Champions League group stage on Tuesday, four more teams will join them.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ] 

Napoli, Olympiacos, Sevilla and Hapoel Be’er Sheva all have narrow leads heading into the second legs which sets things up rather nicely for the winner takes all second legs. Olympiacos and Be’er Sheva will be feeling particularly nervous after conceding at home in the first leg.

On Wednesday five more ties takes place across Europe with Liverpool looking to book their spot in the UCL group stage against Hoffenheim.

Below is the full schedule for Tuesday’s games, which kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET, while you can click on the link above to follow live commentary on all four matches.


Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League playoff second legs

Nice vs. Napoli (Napoli lead 2-0 on aggregate)
Astana 4-3 Celtic (Celtic advance 8-4 on aggregate)
Rijeka vs. Olympiacos (Olympiacos leads 2-1 on aggregate)
Sevilla vs. Istanbul Basaksehir (Sevilla leads 2-1 on aggregate)
Maribor vs. Hapoel Be’er Sheva (Hapoel Be’er Sheva lead 2-1 on aggregate)

LIVE – Premier League clubs enter League Cup

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Seven Premier League teams enter the League Cup second round on Tuesday with plenty of potential upsets lined up.

[ LIVE: Follow League Cup scores ]

All 13 PL clubs (six more are in action on Wednesday) face teams from the lower leagues with the likes of Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Bournemouth and Swansea City all on upset alert.

U.S. national team players to watch out for include Lynden Gooch who starts for Sunderland and Emerson Hyndman who is on the bench for Bournemouth.

Below is the schedule for the League Cup games on Tuesday with all games to kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET unless otherwise stated.


Tuesday
Crystal Palace vs. Ipswich Town – 2:30pm
Aston Villa vs. Wigan Athletic
Leeds United vs. Newport County
Middlesbrough vs. Scunthorpe United
Norwich City vs. Charlton Athletic
QPR vs. Brentford
Fulham vs. Bristol Rovers
Cardiff City vs. Burton Albion
Carlisle United vs. Sunderland
Doncaster vs. Hull City
Grimsby Town vs. Derby County
Brighton vs. Barnet
Accrington Stanley vs. West Brom
Sheffield United vs. Leicester City
Birmingham City vs. Bournemouth
Watford vs. Bristol City
MK Dons vs. Swansea City
Reading vs. Millwall – 3pm
Bolton vs. Sheffield Wednesday – 3pm

Celtic qualify for UEFA Champions League group stage

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Celtic survived a scare in Kazakhstan to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the second season on the trot.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Brendan Rodgers‘ side beat FC Astana 5-0 in the first leg of their playoff last week at Celtic Park but the trip to Kazakhstan proved much trickier with Astana leading 4-1 late in the game which had pulled the score back to 6-4 on aggregate.

However, Scott Sinclair had scored a priceless away goal to make it 1-1 at half time and despite a late flurry of goals for the hosts Olivier Ntcham scored a deflected effort and Leigh Griffiths wrapped things up late on as Celtic lost 4-3 on the night but went through 8-4 on aggregate.

Last season the Scottish champions went out in the UCL group stage after being drawn with Manchester City, Barcelona and Borussia Monchengladbach and will be hoping for a kinder draw this time around.

Premier League clubs on League Cup upset alert

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The second round of the League Cup (known as the Carabao Cup in 2017-18 for sponsorship reasons) kicks off on Tuesday with 13 Premier League clubs in action.

[ MORE: League Cup scores live ]

All 13 have been drawn against lower-league opposition and those klaxons you can hear signify upset alerts.

Below is a look at how each Premier League club will get on as they enter the competition on Tuesday and Wednesday with a ranking on each game out of 10, with 10 being the most likely for an upset to occur.

Remember: the seven PL teams in European competition will enter the League Cup in the third round.


Upset alert ranking for PL clubs

Tuesday
Crystal Palace vs. Ipswich Town – 8/10
Brighton vs. Barnet – 4/10
Accrington Stanley vs. West Brom – 7/10
Sheffield United vs. Leicester City – 6/10
Birmingham City vs. Bournemouth – 7/10
Watford vs. Bristol City – 5/10
MK Dons vs. Swansea City – 5/10

Wednesday
Newcastle United vs. Nottingham Forest – 6/10
Southampton vs. Wolves – 7/10
Huddersfield Town vs. Rotherham United – 7/10
Cheltenham vs. West Ham United – 8/10
Stoke City vs. Rochdale – 6/10
Blackburn Rovers vs. Burnley – 6/10