Mourinho fires Rooney salvo before key clash
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has told Manchester United they will harm the Premier League if they refuse to sell striker Wayne Rooney to a domestic rival
Rooney has been the subject of two unsuccessful bids from Chelsea in recent weeks and Mourinho has used the issue to stir the pot ahead of his side’s clash with United tonight.
United manager David Moyes has repeatedly iterated that Rooney is “not for sale”, but Mourinho believes the champions are wrong to be preoccupied about arming a rival for the title.
“That old-fashioned mentality of ‘I don’t sell players to the same country’ doesn’t help the market and doesn’t help the players,” he said.
“You see in Italy, it happens every season without any problem. The player wants to move from Milan to Inter, from Inter to Milan, from Roma to Juventus, from Juventus to Inter, and they do this all the time. From the big ones I think only (Francesco) Totti stayed all his life (at Roma).
“Sometimes you push players abroad when you should be interested in keeping them in your league, because when you keep players in your league, you are contributing to make your league the best league. So when you want to sell and you are pushing the players abroad, I think you are giving the wrong contribution to the league where you are.”
Tonight's top battle's
>> John Terry vs Robin Van Persie
With David Luiz doubtful due to injury, it could be left to the former England captain to deal with the in-form Van Persie. The Dutch striker continued last season’s goalscoring record by scoring twice in United’s 4-1 win over Swansea. Terry will need to be at his best to keep the United frontman from adding to his tally.
>> Eden Hazard vs Phil Jones
Eden Hazard had a fantastic pre-season and has continued this scintilating form in the two opening fixtures. With the absence of first-choice right-back Rafael, manager David Moyes will again look to Jones, who played there against Swansea, to step up. Hazard is sure to cause the England defender some real problems.
>> Frank Lampard vs Michael Carrick
Lampard has seemingly silenced critics with his performances in the opening week of Chelsea’s campaign, not least with a superb free-kick in the victory against Hull. Equally, Carrick continues to grow in stature as the linchpin of the United midfield and excelled last season at controlling the tempo of games as United claimed their 20th EPL title. Both midfielders will have to balance their attacking and defensive roles as they look to contain each other and drive their teams forward.