Football

Mourinho: Show us due respect

Jose Mourinho believes Champions League semi-finalists Chelsea do not receive the respect they deserve as he ponders selecting an alternate team for tomorrow's clash with Premier League leaders Liverpool.

The Blues are five points adrift of Liverpool with three games to play, and injuries to goalkeeper Petr Cech (shoulder), captain John Terry (ankle), playmaker Eden Hazard (calf) and striker Samuel Eto'o (knee), coupled with the proximity to next Thursday morning's Champions League semi-final, second-leg clash with Atletico Madrid, mean Mourinho is pondering wholesale changes at Anfield.

It might take the gloss off a potential title-decider, but the Portuguese is aggrieved Chelsea's fixture has not been moved to give the Blues the best possible chance in Europe and insists he has the fans' support.

"I think Chelsea fans would like Chelsea Football Club to be respected and to get the respect Chelsea Football Club deserves," Mourinho said yesterday.

"They know what Chelsea did, not just for Chelsea Football Club, but for English football."

KEEPING MUM

Mourinho declined to reveal the content of discussions with the Chelsea hierarchy and whether he will field numerous changes.

Chelsea are unlikely to be punished by the Premier League for making several changes as clubs can select any player in their 25-man squad list without fear of sanction.

"You wait for Sunday and Sunday you know our team," Mourinho added.

Prior to Mourinho's media conference, Chelsea made it clear his Football Association charge would not be discussed, nor would the Blues boss comment on charges levelled at his assistant Rui Faria, following the Black Cats' victory at Stamford Bridge last week.

Mourinho gave an apparently highly sarcastic appraisal of referee Mike Dean's performance, as well drawing referees' chief Mike Riley into the debate, while Faria was dismissed for angrily confronting the match officials.

"Every time I speak, there is a consequence," said Mourinho.

"Even if I say that a referee was amazing, that was a reason to be with a charge.

"I can't say the truth. I don't feel free at all. If you want a better press conference, speak with the FA."

Chelsea midfielder Ramires, though, will miss the Blues' title run-in after accepting a four-match ban for violent conduct.

The Brazilian had until 6pm on Thursday to respond to an FA charge for striking Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson in an off-the-ball incident last Saturday and chose not to contest it.

Having already been sent off against Aston Villa last month, he received an additional one-match ban on top of the regular three games.

That rules him out of tomorrow's visit to Liverpool, as well as meetings with Norwich and Cardiff.

The fourth and final match of the ban will cover the first domestic game of next season.

- PA Sport.