MILAN • Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has hit back at criticism levelled by Fabio Capello and says he is determined to lift the Blues out of a rut that has seen them slump to the lower reaches of the English Premier League.
The club are two places above the relegation zone after losing four and winning only two of their first eight league games.
Their worst start to a season in 37 years has prompted criticism of Mourinho's methods, with Capello claiming the coach "burns out his players" after two seasons.
Mourinho, speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport yesterday, admitted he "can't hide the reality" of Chelsea's dire straits but took exception to Capello's assessment.
"I read what Capello said. I think a coach with his kind of past should be talking about football and not commenting on the work of colleagues," he noted.
"I could have commented on his job as coach for England or the Russian one, and I never did, because I prefer to respect the negative moments of my colleagues."
Capello, who was sacked by the Russian football federation in the summer after a string of disappointing results, claimed Mourinho was guilty of the same pattern of behaviour at Chelsea as he was while in charge at Real Madrid.
"Mourinho burns out his players after a year and a half, at most two years," Capello told Gazzetta recently. "I had already heard it when he was in Madrid and now we have confirmation in London."
Having earned the recent backing of club bosses, Mourinho said he was fired up to return to winning ways. "I assure you: We're working harder than we've ever worked before... and we're not giving up on the Champions League either."