Jose Mourinho denies Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich meddled with team
Chelsea manager insists owner left selection to him during his first stint at London club and consulted him on the purchase of Shevchenko
Jose Mourinho has rejected the notion Roman Abramovich interfered in team affairs in his first spell as Chelsea manager and denied the Russian owner went over his head to land big-money buy Andriy Shevchenko in 2006.
Mourinho said he was in complete control of all playing matters between 2004 and 2007, and also gave an insight into the behind-the-scenes activity that led to the signing of the striker from AC Milan for £30 million (HK$365 million).
"The owner never, never during my time did he try to interfere in the basic things of the manager," the Portuguese coach said. "The basic things are training sessions, team selection, profile of the players you want to bring."
The 50-year-old, who signed a four-year contract to return to Chelsea this month, said the Shevchenko transfer was a good example of how he and the billionaire owner used to work in tandem in his previous stint at Stamford Bridge.
"We wanted to buy Samuel Eto'o from Barcelona," said the former Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Porto boss. "Why? Because he was the only player I could play with Didier Drogba, changing the system to two strikers.
"[Abramovich] did everything to bring Eto'o. In the end, Barcelona said, 'We don't sell, forget it'," Mourinho said. "After that we went to other options and got to Shevchenko, and I was happy with Shevchenko.
"When you buy 20 kids, not 20 kids will go to the first team, and even with the top dogs when you pay 30, 40, 50 or 60 million, sometimes it just doesn't work, and it doesn't mean you or the club made a mistake."
The Ukrainian international was one of the finest strikers in world football but flopped at Chelsea and was never able to recapture the form that won him the 2004 European Footballer of the Year award.
Mourinho said he will be happy to work with sporting director Michael Emenalo over incoming transfers. "There are many things in a manager's job you cannot do, or if you do, you don't do it properly," he said. "Or if you do, it means you are losing your influence in other areas that become more important.
"So it's important you have around you some structures that can deliver the best possible information. The scouting area is a very difficult area for a person like me," he added. "I cannot travel because I have more important things to do inside the club. I also cannot travel because everybody knows I'm travelling, everybody knows who I am, everybody knows the player I'm looking for.
"Michael is working well. The club are doing good work there, and Michael and his staff will provide me with the kind of information I need."
Mourinho also scotched the idea that Chelsea were his second-choice club behind Manchester United, who appointed Everton manager David Moyes last month when Alex Ferguson announced he was retiring.
"I would turn down everyone in the world for Chelsea," he said. "I knew Ferguson was retiring many months ago … and I'm so happy with this trust because it's big news for the world.
"I was always afraid, 'please don't let the news come out', because I knew I'm one of the guys that knows. Why do I know that? I know because we are friends," Mourinho added. "He is also my friend to know that the club I wanted to coach in England is Chelsea.
"From an emotional point of view, I feel I'm coming back - it's my dugout, my stadium, my dressing room, my [training ground] and my office."