Football: Mourinho takes fresh swipe at Wenger as Costa row heats up

Jose Mourinho (left) has launched yet another attack on Arsene Wenger (right).
Jose Mourinho (left) has launched yet another attack on Arsene Wenger (right).AFP, EPA

COBHAM, United Kingdom (AFP) - Jose Mourinho has launched yet another attack on Arsene Wenger after claiming the Arsenal manager receives preferential treatment from the football authorities following Chelsea striker Diego Costa's retrospective ban for violent conduct.

Costa is absent for the second game of his three-match suspension at Newcastle on Saturday after he was sanctioned by the Football Association for grappling with Laurent Koscielny in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Arsenal at Stamford Bridge last weekend.

The FA also rescinded a ban for Gunners defender Gabriel, who was sent off by referee Mike Dean for appearing to kick Costa when replays showed he hadn't made any contact with the Spaniard.

Asked about those decisions on Friday, Chelsea boss Mourinho told reporters: "You don't need my answer. You know the answer. It's not normal."

He then claimed he cannot talk about referees, before stating there are certain managers, with Wenger clearly on his mind after the Frenchman again criticised Dean this week, who can do so without sanction.

"No comment. I tell you why. In the rules book it says some managers can speak about the referees before and after games. Some others cannot," Mourinho said.

"Then comes the list. I am in the list of those who are punished if they speak about the referees before the game.

"I have to stick to that rule book and I am in the list of those who cannot speak about the referees."

SLUMPED

With Mourinho having come in for criticism after Chelsea's erratic start to the season, he was then asked whether he has any sympathy for Newcastle manager Steve McClaren, who has been slammed by Magpies fans and pundits after his team slumped into the relegation zone.

At that point, it became abundantly clear he was talking about Wenger, who once went nine years without winning a trophy with Arsenal and hasn't won the English title since 2004.

"In this country, only one manager is not under pressure. Every other manager is," Mourinho said.

"I am under pressure, Steve is under pressure, (Manuel) Pellegrini is under pressure, Brendan (Rodgers) too.

"We cannot be below par. We have to meet the objectives. I have sympathy with all of them, because it's a difficult job.

"There's one outside that list, but good for him. I have sympathy for Steve."

When pressed on who the manager not under pressure is, Mourinho refused to name him, but once more made it obvious.

"You know. The one who can speak about the referees before the game, after the game, can push people in the technical area, can moan, can cry in the morning in the afternoon, nothing happens," Mourinho said.

"He can not achieve, keep his job, still be the king. I say just one."

Once he had got that off his chest, Mourinho confirmed he has a full squad to choose from for the trip to Newcastle, other than the suspended Costa.

He also said he had made a decision on who would start instead of Costa, but would not reveal whether it is Loic Remy or Radamel Falcao.

"I could tell you. But I have to keep analysing their performances, knowing who is injured, who can play, who plays with (Fabricio) Coloccini and try and know a bit more to make my decision," Mourinho added.

Mourinho denied reports that he was looking to secure an emergency loan for a goalkeeper, in the wake of Thibaut Courtois' injury.

"We have one goalkeeper injured, and we have (Asmir) Begovic and the third goalkeeper becomes the second," he said.

"Obviously when you start the season you expect to have all three ready for the season.

"But we lost Courtois for three months. Now for two and a half months. But that's what we have."