Jose Mourinho says only one manager can “not achieve” and still avoid pressure, in a clear dig at Arsene Wenger.
Mourinho last week maintained his unbeaten record over Wenger in competitive fixtures as Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-0 in a fiery game, the consequences of which are still being felt.
Chelsea will go to Newcastle on Saturday Night Football without Diego Costa in the wake of his retrospective suspension over a clash with Laurent Koscielny, while Arsenal defender Gabriel was red-carded then reprieved over the same incident.
Wenger and Mourinho, as so often, had differing views of that incident, and at his pre-match press conference ahead of the weekend the Chelsea boss could not resist reviving a long-running tradition of criticising his old rival.
“I think in this country, only one manager is not under pressure,” said Mourinho, who has previously called Wenger “a specialist in failure” and regularly passed comment on his longevity at Arsenal.
“Steve McClaren is under pressure, I am under pressure, Brendan Rodgers, Manuel Pellegrini – everybody is under pressure. We cannot lose matches, we cannot be below expectations, we have to reach our objectives.
“I have sympathy with them, and I believe they have also sympathy to myself because it’s a difficult job. There is one that for some reason is outside that list. Good for him.”
Asked to name a name, Mourinho declined but made it clear he meant Wenger by referring to their pitchside clash at Stamford Bridge last season.
“You know,” he said. “He can speak about the referees before the game, after the game, can push people in the technical area, can cry in the morning, cry in the afternoon and nothing happens. Can not achieve, keep the job, still the king… it’s a privilege.”
Mourinho also cried double standards when asked to comment on Costa’s three-match ban, the second of which will be served this weekend.
He said: “If I answer I’m going to be suspended. I don’t want to touch the theme and everything that surrounds this situation.
“I don’t comment and I tell you why. Some managers can speak about the referee before the game and after the game and some others cannot. I am in the list of the ones that cannot.”
Mourinho did repeat his claim that the decision to rescind Gabriel’s red card, initially shown for a flick of the leg at Costa as the pair argued, meant retaliation was now allowed.
And he reported a clean bill of health for his squad without saying whether Loic Remy or Radamel Falcao would stand in for Costa on Tyneside.