Jose Mourinho has claimed Chelsea only moved to sign Wayne Rooney because Manchester United manager David Moyes suggested the striker was no longer his first choice.
Mourinho and his Chelsea team head to Old Trafford to face United later on Monday with the transfer saga surrounding Rooney still unresolved.
The Blues boss has already had two bids of up to £25 million (29 million euros) turned down, but he plans to return with a third offer for the England forward after Monday’s Premier League clash, despite being told the former Everton star is not for sale.
Mourinho, asked if his attempts to sign Rooney would spark an angry response from the Old Trafford crowd, made it clear he believes Moyes is the one who provoked the situation by admitting in pre-season that he sees Robin van Persie as his number one striker.
“Why? They (the United fans) are against me?” Mourinho said. “But I didn’t say (to Rooney) you will be a second choice for me. And they are against me?
“We are trying to get a player that the manager told ‘you will be a second option’. We are not going for (Robin) van Persie.
“They don’t have to be against me. If I say Ramires is a second option for me and he plays when (Frank) Lampard is tired or injured, if somebody comes here to get Ramires, nobody is upset.”
Asked if Moyes is culpable for the Rooney situation, Mourinho replied: “Of course.”
If Mourinho, who on Sunday agreed a deal to sign Brazilian playmaker Willian from Anzhi Makhachkala, can prise Rooney from United by the September 2 close of the transfer window, it would be a significant coup.
It would also force one of Chelsea’s existing three strikers, Fernando Torres, Romelu Lukaku and Demba Ba, to seek a new club, with Mourinho conceding he may have to off-load players to make room for the new arrivals
“I told the players that I want a squad of 22 (players),” he said.
“They are professionals. They want to stay. But they know that, if somebody’s coming, it will be hard because, normally, somebody has to leave.”
Mourinho also responded to suggestions that Chelsea’s pursuit of Willian was a personal vendetta with Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas, who had been on the verge of signing the player before his fellow Portuguese stepped in at the last minute.
Villas-Boas worked as a member of Mourinho’s backroom staff at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan before leaving to start his own managerial career and it was claimed the pair were no longer on good terms.
But Mourinho said: “No, no way. Purely business.” AFP