Mourinho dismisses Mancini in effort to forget Eto'o-gate
Chelsea manager forced to scramble after private recording is broadcast on French TV
JOSE MOURINHO reclaimed control of the narrative in the run-up to Chelsea's Champions League clash with Galatasaray by picking a public fight with the Greek side's manager, Roberto Mancini, the man who preceded him as coach of Inter Milan.
The Portuguese jumped at the chance to deflect attention away from the row over disparaging comments he made about his strikers, and Samuel Eto'o in particular, broadcast on French TV earlier in the week.
But having lectured the media on their "embarrassing" and "disgraceful" behaviour in relation to that incident, he was quickly back doing what he does best, using the press to play mind-games and generating headlines on his own terms.
In the build-up to the clash in Istanbul, Mancini got the ball rolling when he claimed credit for building the Inter team with which Mourinho won the Champions League in 2010.
"Mourinho's response was predictably withering," notes the Daily Telegraph. "And he was certainly happy for the tapes to be running."
The Special One called Mancini's comment "funny" and pointed out that many of the team that won the final had not played for the Italian. "From 11 players, he didn't work with six of them. So he made a five-a-side team because I played with only five players from his team."
Earlier there had been a certain irony to Mourinho's angry reaction to being caught out by the media, and being forced to scramble after a secret tape recording of him questioning Eto'o's age and lamenting the inability of his strikers to score, became public.
The Guardian reports that he was "livid" that the private recording had been aired on TV. He insisted that the comments had been taken out of context and were part of a "private and light-hearted conversation" with a sponsor.
However, Cameroonian striker Eto'o is said to be "very angry", according to the Telegraph, after Mourinho joked that he was not sure if he was 32 or 35, an apparent reference to controversy over the ages of some African players.