In truth, it rarely is. Few sporting figures do pointed aggravation as obviously or as well as the Chelsea manager, and yesterday at Cobham was another master performance.
In another vintage display of passive-aggression, Mourinho made a series of points about everything from last season’s controversial match at Villa Park to Arsene Wenger pushing him in October, all without explicitly stating them. Amidst all this, his main point was that clubs — ie, Manchester City — should be docked points for failing to comply with Financial Fair Play rules, and appeared still be hugely irritated by the Diego Costa situation, from what Mourinho perceives as his unfair suspension to Manuel Pellegrini stating the Spanish striker needs to improve his behaviour.
It was partially because of Costa’s suspension Mourinho refused to speak to media around last week’s 1-1 draw with City, and it seemed as if he had saved up so many resentments for yesterday.
The Portuguese’s mood was made clear straight away, when he was first asked whether he was excited by the signing of Juan Cuadrado.
“Normal,” Mourinho responded. The expression on his face didn’t suggest so.
Mourinho went on to take a series of drive-by shots, at everyone from the FA to Wenger. He did his usual trick of referring to Pellegrini as “Pellegrino”. At one point, Mourinho was asked what had him in such a mood. “You know why I’m here, so you cannot expect I’m super happy to be here.”
He did, however, seem happy enough to have yet another jibe at City and Pellegrini. Mourinho was asked about Chelsea’s ability to improve their squad but still make a profit of £7m (€9.4m), having brought in Cuadrado from Fiorentina, to replace Wolfsburg-bound Andre Schurrle.
“It’s something that was explained 18 months ago when I met our owner and the club board before I joined,” Mourinho said. “It was explained the profile of club Mr Abramovich wants, with total respect to FFP rules… The only thing that is not nice is that you compete against the ones who don’t follow the same rules. I don’t think a team can be champions when you are punished, and it’s happened before, because you didn’t comply with FFP.”
Mourinho was asked what would be suitable punishment for flouting FFP rules. “Points [deduction], of course.”
Mourinho’s mood did improve when the cameras were turned off, speaking about how a “good family” have the character to overcome “unlucky moments”, and expressed pride at the progress of defender Kurt Zouma.
Chelsea are missing the injured Filipe Luis and Costa for the trip to Aston Villa today, where he has never won a game. At the end of Chelsea’s press conference, an Italian journalist asked Mourinho if he was still “the happy one”. He smiled, and gestured to outside the Cobham press room: “When I walk through that door, I’ll be happy.”
Villa midfielder Fabian Delph is confident they can make sure he isn’t so happy.
Delph scored as Villa beat Mourinho’s side 1-0 in March last season and, despite netting just 11 times this term, reckons they can do it again.
“Anything is possible,” he said. “I have been looking at this fixture, it is always nice when you play the big boys.”