Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho admitted after his side 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid that he would like to field a reserve team in their top of the table Premier League game at Liverpool on Sunday.
With his second-placed side five points adrift of leaders Liverpool with only three games left, Mourinho is clearly prioritising next week's Champions League semi-final second leg at home against Atletico over their slim Premier League title hopes.
Asked on ITV Sport if he would select a weaker team against Liverpool, Mourinho replied: "I think I will but it's something we have to speak about internally. It's not a decision a manager can make on his own."
Funny how times, and attitudes, change. Back in 2010, shortly after taking over as manager of Real Madrid, Mourinho was involved in a blazing row with Sporting Gijon counterpart Manuel Preciado after Preciado appeared to do precisely the same thing.
In September 2010, Preciado made eight changes for a midweek clash at Barcelona, then made nine changes in the following game as Sporting tried to cope with three matches in seven days.
Sporting lost the clash at the Camp Nou 1-0, and Mourinho was furious that Preciado had not played all his regular starters against Real's title rivals noting that: "you can't do this in England."
"A team shouldn't give away a game cheaply," said Mourinho about Sporting's team selection.
"They should play to the maximum every match. You can't do this in England because you get punished. Let's see if they do it against us.
"If they play in the Cup with their first team and against us with their second team, I would be grateful. "
The late Preciado, who died in 2012, was furious with Mourinho's comments at the time and hit back saying:
"It could just be a bad joke or it could be a provocation for the Barcelona coach," he said.
"But if he is saying what he really thinks, I think he is despicable, and a bad professional colleague.
"I don't like it at all. If Madrid don't teach him respect, I'll show him. We deserve the same respect that he has.
"To say that Sporting, who have killed themselves to win promotion and stay in the top flight, would give up on a game... Who the hell does he think he is?
"I don't know the guy because he comes from another galaxy. I haven't won the titles he has, but I have won promotions with teams and won games. I know how to win and lose.
"He's used to winning but that will pass. He will lose. If you spit up in the air, it eventually falls back down again."
The circus continued to roll on with Real Madrid then releasing a statement condemning Preciado's rebuttal saying that Mourinho had made his comments in an effort to promote the "sporting spirit" that should be present in every match and to "keep the competition clean."
The Spanish Football Federation even went so far as to investigate the comments from all parties, and while both coaches escaped without punishment, all Liga managers were told to "moderate their statements" in the wake of the row.
The two coaches eventually resolved their difference and Mourinho was one of the first to pay tribute to Preciado when he tragically died of a heart attack in 2012.
"Manolo was always an honourable opponent, who I got to know well when he came to visit us in March," Mourinho said in an open letter.
"He had everything that I like in a person and in sportsmen: character, openness and the courage to fight against blows. We have been left by a football figure and above all by a very special person. My memory of him will be heartfelt and permanent."
- Sports & Recreation
- Jose Mourinho
- Atletico Madrid
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