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.”
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.
“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.”
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.