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Mourinho schools Moyes and United


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Following José Mourinho's first press conference since his return to Chelsea, I wrote that the Portuguese was somewhat meditative; subdued, even.

When he first arrived in 2004, he was a slick, sophisticated avalanche of aggressive confidence and charisma. His high-profile spell at Real Madrid has visibly aged the Special One, and it appeared those dog days he endured there had taken their collective toll.

Mourinho was unprepared to offer the big headline. You could not have expected such a juxtaposed return. Where were the fireworks, the big red carpet and the fanfare? Shouldn't everyone have been sipping a nice glass of bubbly?

Well, it would appear that was something of a false dawn. José Mourinho is back; and he is certainly making sure one man in particular knows it.

Mourinho has always been one to partake in mind-games. Pre-match press conferences would always ultimately defer to a slagging match with Messrs Benitez, Wenger and Ferguson. It was something that the Portuguese relished, and offered the perfect headline opportunity to ensure the match build-up was dominated by Mourinho, and Mourinho alone. Redirecting pressure from the players and onto himself is something that the Blues boss does better than most.

Ferguson might have retired and Benitez might have buggered off (though not without one final earful of criticism), but Mourinho is still up for the fight. Surprisingly, he's had little to say about Arsenal. Perhaps he isn't concerned by them: "Nothing has changed with Arsenal", the Special One said. "In the eight years since I was here first, they still haven't won a trophy".

Whilst Wenger has seemingly escaped a scathing comment or two thanks to his own team's inadequacies, one man who has had to take a fair amount of criticism from Mourinho is the new Manchester United manager, David Moyes. In truth, Manchester United as a football club has become José's latest target. And oh, how small he has made that club look!

Mourinho is currently schooling Moyes and United. Not schooling in the convention sense. Schooling in terms of humiliation. And it all boils down to the Wayne Rooney situation.

José has absolutely pounced on Moyes after the former Everton boss made his first major faux-pas as United coach when he openly declared Rooney is considered second-choice - without a minute of competitive football being played. Not the best way of getting players on side, is it, David?

Mourinho has made sure Moyes acknowledges his error. Such an almighty cock-up has resulted in United CEO Ed Woodward returning home from the club's pre-season tour of Australia to deal with "urgent transfer news".

Whilst United insist it is nothing to do with the Rooney saga, and the press are doing their best to say it is to secure the supposedly imminent signing of Cesc Fabregas, one would suggest this is United trying to dig themselves out of a hole. Mainly because Barcelona's vice-president Jose Maria Bartome has said Cesc is going nowhere. Nice try, though.

Chelsea have struck a serious psychological blow without really even doing anything. Whilst there were rumours of a £10 million-plus-a-player bid (supposedly Juan Mata or David Luiz, but Chelsea have categorically quashed these rumours to make United look even more stupid), the Blues later confirmed a monetary bid - allegedly of £20 million - that was duly turned down by the current Premier League champions.

The fact that the official Chelsea website put this all up in writing was a very shrewd move. After the press' failed attempt to unsettle Chelsea over the future of Luiz and Mata, it made United's attempts to claw back some credibility look all the more humorously futile, and at the same time make it quite clear that Rooney is wanted at the club.

It has all left Wayne rather angry, and a little bit confused. Mourinho has warned against Rooney accepting second-choice status at Manchester United in a World Cup year. He has also gone on record as saying he "wants the player". Even for someone with Rooney's intelligence, such an equation is easy to work out. He's unwanted at Manchester United, and he wants out. Chelsea want him, and are willing to do business. As for the transfer, according to Mourinho the ball is firmly in United's court.

Whether Chelsea sign the player or not, this is a considerable mental triumph. United fans seem absolutely petrified of the prospect of a rejuvenated Rooney leading a Chelsea side consisting of some of the world's best young attacking talent, and he would no doubt be an improvement on the Blues' misfiring duo of Demba Ba and Fernando Torres.

But it is if Chelsea don't sign the player that the greatest damage will have been inflicted. This situation represents David Moyes' first test as Manchester United boss, and he has failed quite miserably. He now has his second-best player being talked up by the side that is favourite to win the Premier League title this season, and Rooney's head undoubtedly will have been turned by the allure of the Stamford Bridge club.

But should Wayne stay, United will have on their hands a sulking superstar costing them £250,000-a-week. So whilst José says that the decision is ultimately United's, unless the Red Devils can conjure up an alternate foreign suitor and sell him at a price equal to what Chelsea offer, the real truth of it is the United board and manager are currently dancing to whatever beat Mourinho decides.

Such is Mourinho's dominance over the Manchester club, supposedly everyone associated with Manchester United has been banned from talking about Wayne Rooney. Mourinho has wasted no time in mocking this action as well - in his press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, the Special One told a reporter off for mentioning Rooney's name, and told him to stand at the back of the press conference with his face against the wall!

Whilst United haven't been allowed to talk about Rooney, Chelsea players have been saying nothing but nice things about Wayne. Petr Cech has called him "a great player", Gary Cahill reckons he is "world-class", he'd be a "brilliant signing" according to Eden Hazard, and new goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has also talked up the Manchester United star.

And let's be fair here - Wayne Rooney is a fabulous player. At just 27 years of age, he still has a goof five-to-six years to give at the highest level, and such is his ability he would be able to fulfil a number of roles at Chelsea should the situation require it.

It is pretty darn clear that Wayne Rooney is valued far more by those at Stamford Bridge than back at Old Trafford. Should Wayne put in a transfer request, as he supposedly did right at the end of Sir Alex Ferguson's reign, it would simply be a case of how much United want for the player.

"Rooney or bust", says José Mourinho. If ever a player needed an endorsement to sign for a club, this is it.

That is how to deal with the superstars, David.

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Jose knows exactly what to give to the media to take full advantage of them

and the best part about this is that Moyes is under-pressure and we're still a month away from the season opener

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