Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has hit back at criticism levelled by Fabio Capello and said he is determined to lift the Blues out of the rut that has seen them slump to the lower reaches of the Premier League.
Chelsea are currently two places above the relegation zone after losing four and winning only two of their first eight league games.
Their worst start to a season in 37 years has prompted criticism of Mourinho’s methods, with Capello notably claiming the Portuguese coach “burns out his players” after two seasons.
Mourinho, speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport on Thursday, admitted he “can’t hide the reality” of Chelsea’s dire straits but took exception to Capello’s assessment of his leadership methods.
“I read what Capello said,” Mourinho told the Italian sports daily on Thursday.
“I think a coach with his kind of past should be talking about football and not commenting on the work of colleagues.”
Capello, who was sacked by the Russian football federation in the summer after a string of disappointing results, claimed Mourinho was guilty of the same pattern of behaviour at Chelsea as he was while in charge at Real Madrid.
“Mourinho burns out his players after a year and a half, at most two years,” Capello told Gazzetta recently.
“I had already heard it when he was in Madrid and now we have confirmation in London.”
Mourinho added: “I could have commented on his (Capello) job as coach for England or the Russian one, and I never did, because I prefer to respect the negative moments of my colleagues.
“I like hearing about Fabio Capello in the many beautiful moments of his career, which has been full of extraordinary success.”
Embattled Mourinho said he could not explain Chelsea’s recent run of poor results, but, having earned the recent backing of club bosses, said he was determined to stop the rot.
Asked what had led to Chelsea’s recent dip in form, he told the sports daily: “I don’t know, the results with Chelsea are negative at the moment. I can’t hide the reality. And I struggle to find an explanation.
“But I assure you: we’re working harder than we’ve ever worked before and we’ll get out of this. And we’re not giving up on the Champions League either.”
Mourinho added that club owner Roman Abramovich’s backing in Chelsea’s current time of crisis has been crucial.
“That makes me proud. It demonstrates the faith of Abramovich for a coach who has won three Premier League titles with this club. I want to thank him.”