SPORT

Chelsea 2-0 Fulham: José Mourinho Praises Juan Mata And Aims Jibe At Ruud Gullit

21/09/2013 20:55 BST | Updated 21/09/2013 21:01 BST

José Mourinho has made a spate of debatable decisions this season. Starting without a striker at Manchester United, Juan Mata's exclusion from the starting line-up and Romelu Lukaku's loan to Fulham was followed by a media-specific opinion.

"I think you are very good but the Chelsea manager is José Mourinho - not Jamie Redknapp," he told the Sky Sports pundit.

Many would disagree with Mourinho on Redknapp's analytical merits, too, but Chelsea are top of the league again. It is likely to last for 24 hours with the Manchester and north London clubs playing on Sunday, but the Blues' four-game winless run is suddenly of little consequence. "The important thing is to be there," Mourinho opined.

jose mourinho

Mourinho offers André Schürrle some advice

"It was not a good start [to the season], but I think the two defeats are not defeats with a conclusion," he added. "We have 15 points to play for [in the Champions League] so the defeat was not dramatic. Every team has lost a game, to lose is a normal thing, but for us it looks like the end of the world."

The broadcasters' English football coverage might be maligned but Mourinho was effusive about its punditry. He was actually happy with Redknapp's criticism regarding Mata's omission for Fulham's visit.

"More than happy," he beamed. "I think it's a great job and it's an important job to help the people at home to read the game and analyse the situation, to understand football better.

juan mata

Mata remains a bone of contention for some pundits

"England is full of good pundits and commentators so there is no problem people having an opinion and I respect opinions. It is more difficult to be a manager than to be a commentator, that is for sure."

Mourinho was less happy about Ruud Gullit, working for Sky Sports alongside Redknapp, suggesting there might be a personal issue with Mata.

Conspiracy theorists have suggested Mourinho is so scarred from his experience with Real Madrid in Spain he has deliberately marginalised the club's two Spaniards. Cesar Azpilicueta has made just one substitute appearance this term, in the 89th minute at Manchester United.

"You know, Ruud Gullit is a different pundit because he was also a manager and I think he shouldn't be a very proud manager for what he did in his last years," Mourinho shrugged. "So I don't want to comment."

Gullit, Chelsea's manager when the club won the 1997 FA Cup, coached Los Angeles Galaxy between 2007 and 2008 as well as Terek Grozny in 2011, where he was sacked after winning just three games and accused of having a "party lifestyle".

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Gullit leads Chelsea out at Wembley in 1997

Mata will start the midweek League Cup tie at Swindon and Mourinho is eager for the club's two-time player of the year to respond to his demotion.

"I hope he tells me on the pitch, 'You are wrong, I'm the best and I have to play every game.' I would love that. He is a top kid and a very good professional," Mourinho admitted.

"I give Juan the chance to play from the beginning against Aston Villa, from the beginning against Everton, 35 minutes against Basel. The point is I have my options but the thing I most love in football is when the players prove that I am wrong. So if he proves that I am wrong I will be the happy one." Chuckling ensued.

chelsea fulham

Oscar ended a frustrating 50 minutes for Chelsea with the opener

Chelsea were penetrative rather than ponderous after the pause and Fulham boss Martin Jol thought his side failed to match the hosts.

"They stepped up a gear they were more aggressive than us," Martin Jol conceded. Cardiff, Stoke and Crystal Palace are next on the agenda, which is possibly cause for optimism.

"I'm only optimistic after we've won games," he replied dejectedly.