Jose Mourinho has taken a swipe at Graeme Le Saux for refusing to travel to Israel 14 years ago after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Chelsea have returned to Israel to play Maccabi Tel Aviv and Mourinho claims he has no fearful footballers like Le Saux.
“I didn’t have a single problem within the squad,” said Mourinho. “I didn’t have a Graeme Le Saux. I had everybody without fears, just wanting to come.
“I had even a player whose wife is maybe going to have a baby either tomorrow or the next day but he’s here, focusing on what he can do for us. So we’re here focusing on getting a result. We need that for our happiness, our pride, and the people who support us.”
As the England international left-back was one of six Blues to refuse to travel, you may wonder why Mourinho singled out Le Saux rather than Marcel Desailly, Emmanuel Petit, William Gallas, Eidur Gudjohnsen or Albert Ferrer.
The answer could like in Le Saux’s piece in The Times last month in which he wrote of the Eva Carneiro issue: ‘What concerns me most, given the work I’m doing for the FA, is the impact Mourinho’s behaviour may have throughout the whole game.
‘We’re trying to deal with some very sensitive issues and to change the culture of the game.
‘Some good people at the FA have taken a kicking after concluding there was insufficient evidence to charge Mourinho, whilst the whole furore may also deter women from becoming involved in football, as well as discouraging clubs from employing them.
‘A lot of people are working very hard to get the game in a better place, but after the last few weeks it feels as if we’ve gone back 30 years.
‘Mourinho could have reduced the fallout if he had just apologised. You can apologise for your behaviour without apologising for why you did it.
‘I wonder if there’ll ever be a time that Mourinho accepts his responsibility to the game.
‘If you want the rewards for being successful in football, you have to accept responsibilities. To admit you’ve done wrong, I don’t think Mourinho has ever done that.
‘As someone who was privileged to play for Chelsea for 12 years, I’m saddened that it has come to this.’