Mourinho walkout: is Chelsea boss stressed over Torres?
Blues manager no longer the Happy One as he loses his cool over De Bruyne questions
IS Jose Mourinho's crown slipping? The Special One walked out of a press conference ahead of the Chelsea's Champions League game against Steaua Bucharest after becoming irritated by questions over midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, who was left out of the squad for the match.
The Blues boss was furious that journalists, once again, had focused on the players who weren't in his squad rather than those who were. But a stressed Mourinho may have been on edge because of the furore surrounding striker Fernando Torres, who faces a four match ban for gouging Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen on Saturday.
Having spent much of the season so far discussing the future of Spanish midfielder Juan Mata, who may have finally convinced Mourinho of his talents with a fine performance on Saturday, the Blues boss was yesterday forced to answer questions about Belgian Kevin de Bruyne, who has been training with the under-21s.
Mourinho was clearly displeased. "This is fantastic because no one asks me about Mata," he said. "You have spoken about Mata for three weeks. Now you're asking about Kevin. You are impressed in the players who are not playing."
His decision to flounce out of the conference undermined his efforts to present a more cheerful persona during his second stint at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho's walkout "called an abrupt end to his 'Happy One' image," noted the Daily Mail.
But the questions about De Bruyne may just have been the "tipping point" says the Daily Telegraph. "The Portuguese was already irritated about the looming ban being faced by Fernando Torres – his only in-form striker," explains Jason Burt. "Mourinho appeared unhappy throughout the press conference and was certainly not as expansive as he has been of late," he adds.
Chelsea lost their opening Champions League game at home against Basle and cannot afford to slip up in Romania. But his team selection could be affected by the FA's attitude towards Torres, who will discover his fate today.
"Chelsea are resigned to Torres being charged with violent conduct – which in all probability would trigger an additional three-match ban on top of the standard one-game suspension for his sending-off," says The Times. "But [they] may not learn his fate until 6pm this evening, which would leave Mourinho with only 45 minutes to alter his team."
If the Spanish forward is banned, he is likely to play in Romania as he will not be available for the forthcoming Premier League games. If not, he could be rested. ·