Apr 22, 2014, 9:14 PM EST
With injuries to Petr Cech and John Terry ruling two of his key players out, Chelsea manager José Mourinho is ready to turn his back on his team’s slim chances to track down Liverpool in the Premier League. Threatening to play a reserve team this Sunday at Anfield, Mourinho said he will seek owner Roman Abramovich’s permission to concentrate the team’s efforts on Champions League.
Chelsea will enter Sunday’s game five points behind Liverpool in the Premier League. With a win at Anfield, the Blues would be in position to capitalize on a potential if improbable Reds slip over the season’s final two weeks. If they can’t get full points on Sunday, however, the Blues’ title pursuit is over.
In light of the two injuries Chelsea incurred during Tuesday’s 0-0 at Atlético Madrid, Mourinho’s no longer willing to fight on two fronts, casting blame at the Premier League itself for failing to help his team juggle commitments.
“We represent English football and are the only team in European competitions,” Mourinho explained after his team’s performance in Madrid (as reported by The Telegraph). “Spain has four and gave them all the conditions to try to have success, so I know what I would do. 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.”
“The fact that the (Liverpool) 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.”
As far as who would make the decision to start a weakened squad, Mourinho pointed to his boardroom. If Chelsea is going to forgo its chance to win the Premier League (diminishing as that chance may be), it’s going to have to be Abramovich’s call.
“I’m not the most important person in the club. Roman and the board, everybody is above me. I work for them and have to follow what my club decides. My priority is the Champions League.”
With John Terry out until the Champions League final (according to Mourinho), the depth in defense is compromised. And given Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel are both out next Wednesday with yellow card accumulation suspensions, Mourinho can’t afford to start any midfielders in Liverpool who’ll have to give big minutes against Atlético. With Eden Hazard‘s situation improving but still uncertain, the choices in attacking midfield are thin, too.
Mourinho’s alluding to the boardroom as a way to point out the decision goes beyond him, but is there really a decision to make here? Even with a win at Anfield, the odds remain against Chelsea in league. The odds are also against Chelsea in Champions League (they’re “against” most teams), but at least they control their own destiny in Europe.
You can’t waste time with the battles you can’t win. At this point, particularly with the injuries, England’s probably gone. Then again, it could just be Mourinho setting a low bar for this weekend’s trip to the northwest.
Dec 28, 2014, 3:35 PM EST
After 19 weeks of the PL, here’s the top storylines so far.
Dec 28, 2014, 3:19 PM EST
Could Alan Pardew be heading home to London?
Dec 28, 2014, 2:28 PM EST
The final heavy match day in the Premier League for 2014 had goals, ejections, upsets and disallowed scores.
VIDEO: Allardyce furious with disallowed opening goal against Arsenal: “Officials clearly got it horribly wrong”
Dec 28, 2014, 1:44 PM EST
It was a poor call in our books, but it stands.
Dec 28, 2014, 1:12 PM EST
Newcastle moved back above Everton and into 10th place on the table with 23 points. The Toffees are in 12th with 21.
Dec 28, 2014, 12:28 PM EST
The entire R’s family has joined the world in hoping for the best, as 162 people are missing.
Dec 28, 2014, 12:19 PM EST
Mourinho claims Chelsea are being victimized for simulation, as Fabregas denied penalty kick.
Dec 28, 2014, 12:11 PM EST
They’re still bottom of the table, but not by much anymore.
Dec 28, 2014, 12:09 PM EST
The point Sunderland pulls four points clear of the drop zone, while Aston Villa is a point above the Black Cats.
Dec 28, 2014, 12:03 PM EST
City remains three points back of Chelsea, and now sit 7 points ahead of No. 3 Manchester United.
Dec 28, 2014, 11:59 AM EST
There was little for fans to latch onto at Loftus Road, and it appropriately ended goalless.
Dec 28, 2014, 11:59 AM EST
What stood out from the clash at St Mary’s? Here’s three things.
Dec 28, 2014, 11:55 AM EST
One quality goal from the Stoke forward plus one lucky one meant West Brom slumped to yet another defeat.
Dec 28, 2014, 11:54 AM EST
The win moves Arsenal into fifth place with 33 points, while West Ham drops to sixth with 31.
Dec 28, 2014, 11:20 AM EST
With just a point taken from White Hart Lane, the Red Devils manager was hard on his team for not finishing.
Dec 28, 2014, 11:06 AM EST
10-man Saints hold on, frustrate Chelsea in lively top four clash.
Dec 28, 2014, 10:58 AM EST
The ball hammered off the underside of the crossbar before nearly bounding back up to meet it.
Dec 28, 2014, 10:54 AM EST
Meanwhile, Newcastle will again turn to 21-year-old keeper Jak Alnwick, with 17-year-old striker Adam Armstrong headed back to the bench for Papiss Cisse.
Dec 28, 2014, 9:38 AM EST
With Leicester on six straight losses, Nigel Pearson can’t afford another with the holidays in the rear view mirror and the Foxes five points alone at the bottom.
Dec 28, 2014, 9:32 AM EST
Villa Park looks to see if their home side can pick up three points against fellow strugglers Sunderland on Sunday morning.
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