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Mourinho insists he was joking about Eto'o

ESPN staff
February 25, 2014 « England to return to Ireland for friendly | Chartbeat test »
ESPN FC: Mourinho at it again

Jose Mourinho says he regrets disparaging remarks about Samuel Eto'o and has launched a defence of the striker.

But the Chelsea manager insists his comments were off the record and no more than a joke, leaving him fuming after being secretly recorded by French TV channel Canal Plus while making them.

Mourinho was speaking to a Swiss businessman at a recent sponsor's event before a scheduled interview with the French TV station. The recording was made public on Monday.

In the recording, Mourinho appeared to make it clear how badly he felt Chelsea had performed up front this season. "The problem with Chelsea is I lack a striker," said Mourinho, whose strikers Fernando Torres and Eto'o have scored just eight goals each this season, while Demba Ba has only found the back of the net three times.

Mourinho had also light-heartedly questioned the age of Cameroonian Eto'o, being heard to say: "He is 32 years old, maybe 35, who knows?"

In his press conference ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash at Galatasaray, Mourinho said he was unhappy the comments were aired in a video clip on the Canal Plus website, even if the post was subsequently removed.

"The [Eto'o] comment is not a good one and not one I would do in a serious, official way," Mourinho said. "First of all because I don't make fun, second if there are managers in the world that defend their players I am one of them.

"Third because Samuel Eto'o is Samuel Eto'o. Four times a Champions League winner. It was with him I had the best ever season of my career [when they won the treble at Inter Milan in 2010].

"He is one of the few players who is working with me at a second different club and a manager never does that when he doesn't like the player, doesn't like the person.

"He has no reason to be upset. A few years ago, he said he would not play with me [while at Barcelona], but a few years later he plays with me at Inter and now he plays with me here. There is no story.

"It was a funny conversation between me and someone not in the football world."

Mourinho did not deny stating his interest in signing Monaco and Colombia forward Radamel Falcao this summer. "I need a striker, Falcao needs a club," Mourinho said. "A player like him cannot play in front of 3,000 people. Monaco is a club to end [your career with]."

But he went on the attack, claiming his comments should never have been published. He said: "It is a disgrace someone is taping a private conversation.

"I am not defending what I am saying, I am attacking something that is from your professional area. That person showed what he is or what he does not know about the job.

"I think you should be embarrassed as media professionals because by the ethical point of view I don't think you are happy your colleague is happy to be able to record a private conversation and to make it public.

"I think you should all be embarrassed because it is against your ethic. Is it a not happy comment? Absolutely."

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