Every time Jose Mourinho answers a question on Wayne Rooney he is keen to stress the club is behaving in an “ethical” way. Having already been fined for tapping up Rooney’s pal Ashley Cole and the striker having been pictured playing golf down the road from Chelsea’s training ground, maybe the manager is worried that people may assume Paul Stretford is up to his usual tricks.
“He’s a little bit like me: he doesn’t need one more pound in his contract,” Mourinho said in his first press conference as Chelsea manager. “Be happy. Where will he find more happiness? I like him as a boy. I wish him well and hope he is happy.”
The following month, before any bids were placed, Mourinho talked about his feelings on Rooney again.
“From an ethical point of view I can’t talk about players from other teams. But it is not my character to speak with hypocrisy, I always tell what I see – he’s a player that I like very much. I like him very much, but he’s a Manchester United player.”
A few days later, Chelsea put in a bid of £20m to sign Rooney.
“Chelsea is interested in the player [Rooney],” he said. “Chelsea made an official bid. What we did we did do officially, between our club and Man United, and we have nothing more to say about it. You have to respect Man United and you have to be ethical in this process. So no more problems. So from now, I don’t say one more word about Wayne Rooney because you all know we want him, and not one more word about this situation. We made a bid and now it’s up to Man United. We did what we had to do in a proper way, in an ethical way, and we’re happy with our behaviour. It was clean.”
Having put a second bid in for the striker, this time worth £25m, Mourinho refused to name Rooney, but again emphasised how “ethical” the behaviour of the club was.
“I don’t think it’s ethical that I name a player that belongs to another club … but if we have to make the bid we will do it in an ethical way, not like some clubs. We don’t speak to players, we speak to clubs. We don’t do what many clubs do and go around and try to influence players to behave in a certain way. We go direct to the club in a correct manner and we are going to try to do that until the last day of the window.”
United are not prepared to sell one of their better players to a title rival but still Chelsea have not given up.
With the two teams set to meet on Monday, Mourinho again insists that Chelsea are behaving in an “ethical” way, before confirming they will be making a third bid for the striker.
“I don’t want Chelsea to do it before we go there. I think this period, by the ethical point of view, is a period where we’re going to be quiet.”
Ethical? How is it ethical to unsettle a player before one of the biggest games of the season by suggesting that Rooney could score against his future club. Of course, we are lead to believe Rooney won’t be playing for Chelsea any time soon, but someone still should hand Mourinho a dictionary for him to look up the meaning of his new favourite word.
Managers will talk about other teams’ players, whether the fans like it or not. Chelsea have put in two bids for Rooney so it stands to reason every journalist is going to ask him about it, so you can’t really begrudge him for talking about it. But Mourinho’s hypocrisy, in claiming to be ethical, only to do everything he can to unsettle the player, is a joke.
The ethical one? No way, Jose.