Arsenal have unfair advantage in League Cup, says Mourinho
But Chelsea boss backs down from threat to field youth team against Gunners on Tuesday night
CHELSEA boss Jose Mourinho has withdrawn his threat to field a youth team against Arsenal in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night, but he stood by his claim that the decision to play the game on a Tuesday gives Arsenal an unfair advantage.
The Chelsea manager is upset that the London derby will kick off barely 48 hours after Sunday's match against Manchester City. Arsenal, by contrast, played Crystal Palace on Saturday lunchtime, so have had an extra day and a half to prepare.
"If they want a big game, we cannot give them a big game," said Mourinho. "If they want the players that were playing [on Sunday], we cannot give them that."
The Portuguese also suggested that the draw was designed to help the Gunners. "If they want Arsenal to win a trophy, that's a help, because if they want a big game between two big teams in London, they should put the game on Wednesday and not on Tuesday."
The Chelsea manager has "never been slow to perceive slights and conspiracy theories", reports The Times. However, The Guardian explains that the match will be played on Tuesday because of TV schedules and policing issues.
His initial reaction to the news that the match would be held on a Tuesday was typically dramatic, announcing that he would play his youth team. "The reality is the Chelsea boss will select a side similar to the one which won the previous round at Swindon," says the Daily Telegraph. "That side included World Cup winner Juan Mata and is far from weak as the Blues go to the home of the Premier League leaders."
The match will be Mourinho's first encounter with Arsene Wenger since his return to English football. The pair were bitter rivals when Mourinho was first in charge of Chelsea, but having apparently sparked a feud with Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini on Sunday the Chelsea boss insisted that there were "no problems" between him and his Arsenal counterpart. ·