Under-pressure Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has “thanked” Sir Alex Ferguson for his support and taken a swipe at his strikers.
The former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson on Monday said Roman Abramovich would be “foolish” to sack the Portuguese coach and Mourinho has revealed his appreciation and claimed: “Sir Alex is my friend”.
“I didn’t read. I didn’t watch. Some people told me (about it),” Mourinho said.
“And it’s the difference between the friends and the fake friends. Sir Alex is my friend. Obviously the words are very nice. He’s not the kind of person who says just because he likes somebody.
“He’s always honest in his analysis and I thank him.”
Chelsea face Porto at home in the Champions League on Wednesday night and with Dynamo Kiev expected to beat Maccabi Tel Aviv, they would finish top with a win, second with a draw and third with a defeat, plunging into the second-tier Europa League.
Mourinho has derided the competition previously – won by his predecessor Rafael Benitez when interim boss in 2013 – but the winners now are awarded a place in the Champions League.
“I know what you mean,” said Mourinho, who appeared to concede defeat in his side’s bid for the Premier League top four, and with it a place in the Champions League, after the loss to Bournemouth.
“I know that in this moment it looks to win the Europa League is an easier way to be in the Champions League next season, than to finish in the top four.
“But there is another possibility, which is to win the Champions League.
“It’s harder than winning the Europa League, obviously, yes. But this is a competition where we are.”
Mourinho pointed to Chelsea’s match statistics, saying “records” had been broken in three consecutive matches, but then pointed to the lack of goals.
It was a comment which could be interpreted as criticism of his strike force.
Diego Costa has seven goals since January and just four this season and has been a substitute for the last two games, with Eden Hazard deployed as a “false nine”.
Loic Remy is a peripheral figure and Radamel Falcao is injured, having struggled to make an impact on loan.
“We run and we run and we work more than ever and at certain intensity that we never did before,” Mourinho added.
“Our levels of ball possession are much higher than before too. Our chances are higher than ever.
“Our number of goals is lower than ever. You have the numbers, you read the numbers.”