Misbehaving Mutu not my mistake, says Chelsea boss

LONDON: Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, whose striker Adrian Mutu has failed a drugs test, said on Friday it was impossible to know everything about a player’s off-pitch life although clubs needed to find out all they could before they bought expensive players. 

In his first comments on the saga of Mutu’s so-called playboy lifestyle, Mourinho said the best place to tell if a player was misbehaving in his private life was on the training pitch. 

Speaking after a coaching session about the problems of signing new players Mourinho said: “You can make mistakes from a sporting point of view ... and on the social side you have to try to know the maximum you can.” 

“Mutu was here before me so he was not my mistake,” added Mourinho, who took over from Claudio Ranieri at Chelsea last July. 

Mutu signed for Chelsea for £15.8mil (US$28.86mil) in July 2003. He was Romania’s most expensive player, Parma’s top scorer and one of the most prolific strikers in Serie A.  

He took Chelsea fans by storm, scoring four times in his first three games but his form waned later in the season and he fell out with Ranieri amid lurid newspaper stories of night-clubbing and womanising. 

Mourinho, who took Porto to Champions League glory last season, said the training ground was a window on players’ life outside the club. 

“When you see a player committed, concentrated, strong ... his life outside of football is good. 

“When you see a player tired, having difficulty concentrating, with many changes of mood ... then you put a question mark by him.” 

Mourinho had said before news of the positive test broke this week that Mutu had experienced some problems in training. 

It was all so different last July when Mourinho praised Mutu’s attitude and the player said he was turning over a new leaf. But Mutu failed to secure a first team place and relations between manager and player became strained. 

Mourinho denied British newspaper reports quoting Mutu saying the pair almost come to blows during a confrontation. “Maybe he’s having nightmares about me,” Mourinho said on Friday. 

British newspapers have reported that Mourinho himself asked for the drugs test, which was conducted earlier this month. 

Mourinho said he backed drugs control “at the maximum level”, but a distinction needed to be drawn between performance enhancing drugs and social drugs. 

Performance enhancing drugs had to be fought to stop cheating. Social drugs were not a footballing problem but society’s problem, he said. 

“But I think we also have a responsibility to try to help and find solutions because we are an example to young people,” Mourinho added. 

Mutu had a hearing at the English FA on Thursday and the case is likely to last at least two weeks before the length of any possible suspension is known. – Reuters  

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