Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has dismissed suggestions he is playing mind games with Manchester United counterpart David Moyes.
It was put to Mourinho on his arrival in Jakarta, where Chelsea play an All-Star XI tomorrow, that his compliments towards Moyes were a calculated act designed to destabilise the Premier League champions.
Mourinho’s sole remaining transfer target is a Manchester United player and Chelsea last week had a bid for Wayne Rooney rejected by United, who say the striker is not for sale.
Mourinho said: “If to say that my colleague in Man United is a great coach, he deserves success, he deserves time to work, he didn’t win trophies at Everton because it’s difficult to win trophies there... If to speak good about him is to play mind games, what do you say if I speak bad about him?
“The best thing is not to speak, and if I don’t speak nobody says nothing.”
Like Moyes, Mourinho believes it is better to sign players early in the transfer window.
But, unlike United, Chelsea have already recruited Andre Schurrle, Marco van Ginkel and Mark Schwarzer this summer.
“He’s right,” Mourinho said. “The sooner you have the players, the better.
“You know the squad you have, you know what you have to work with, you have time for that.”
The Portuguese warned Chelsea’s Premier League rivals of the dangers of doing late business in the transfer window, which this season closes on September 2.
“Many clubs are waiting to the last moment to make their decisions,” Mourinho said. “The problem is that those decisions affect not just one or two clubs, but a lot of them.
“The one who sells has to go and buy, then they have to buy to replace, so no club is safe.
“Until the last minute somebody can go there and steal a player. I don’t mean steal a player, but steal the balance that a manager has when he’s working with a team.
“In that aspect, we are lucky because we don’t have players to sell, so none of my players is leaving under any circumstances.
“That’s good for me, but many teams will be until the last moment under pressure, without knowing how the squad is going to be.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea full-back Ashley Cole believes he owes a debt of gratitude to Mourinho, who controversially signed him from Arsenal in 2006.
“Having the manager back now from 2006, when he bought me, I still feel I owe him something,” said Cole, who played for Mourinho for little more than a season before the Special One’s departure in September 2007.
“I didn’t really feel I played as well as I could and as well as I have for Chelsea (since), when he bought me.
“On a personal level, I think I owe him a lot. As a team, I hope we can go on and win many trophies.”
Cole believes a player has one thought when they know they are wanted by Mourinho — to join him.
“I jumped at the chance,” the England defender said. “He’s a great manager. He’s proved how good he is with the number of trophies he’s won with different teams.
“He’s great at motivating players and keeping you on your toes, keeping you doing what you should be doing.
“For me, if there’s a player he wants to come to Chelsea, it would be one thought in my mind: to come here and to be under a great manager. It’s a pleasure to play under him.”
Cole’s decision to join Chelsea has been vindicated, as he has won every honour in the club game since.
Earlier this year he signed a one-year contract extension which incorporates the forthcoming season.
Asked if he would like to stay on longer, Cole said: “I hope so.
“(But) that’s not down to me. I’ve just got to keep training hard, try to keep playing well and hopefully keep my place in the team.
“We’ll see what goes (on) from there. I love Chelsea. I’ve been here seven years now and I would love to stay here as long as I can.”
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