Injuries Could Force Chelsea Manager Mourinho To Rest Starters Sunday At Liverpool
EPL Chelsea Manager José Mourinho "threatened to protect Chelsea’s chances of reaching the Champions League final" by fielding a reserve team at Anfield on Sunday "in a dramatic move" that could all but hand Liverpool the Premier League title, according to Matt Hughes of the LONDON TIMES. The Chelsea manager’s options "were limited by injuries" to Petr Cech and John Terry in the goalless draw in the Champions League semifinal, first leg away to Atlético Madrid. Deliberately fielding a weakened team "would cause outrage at Manchester City, who are also chasing the title, and could lead to the club facing disciplinary action from the Premier League." Mourinho insisted that "he will consult" Owner Roman Abramovich before making a final decision, although he made it clear that his preference "is to rest every player likely to start next Wednesday’s second leg at Stamford Bridge." Mourinho blamed the Premier League for "forcing him into a position where his team selection could compromise the integrity of the entire competition as they have refused Chelsea’s requests to bring the Liverpool game forward." Mourinho: "The fact that the match is on Sunday I think puts the problem not in my hands, but in the hands of those who decide the game should be on Sunday, and not Saturday or Friday. We represent English football and are the only team in European competitions. Spain has four and gave them all the conditions to try to have success. But I’m not the club. I have to speak to them. I would play with the players who are not going to play Wednesday” (LONDON TIMES, 4/23).