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Football: Mourinho demands "respect" for Chelsea

Jose Mourinho has said his Chelsea team deserve more "respect" from the rest of English football following fears his line-up at Liverpool on Sunday compromise the integrity of the Premier League title race.

COBHAM: Jose Mourinho has said his Chelsea team deserve more "respect" from the rest of English football following fears his line-up at Liverpool on Sunday compromise the integrity of the Premier League title race.

Mourinho's side face Atletico Madrid on Wednesday in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final.

Having been hit by a number of injuries to key players -- including Petr Cech and John Terry in Madrid -- Mourinho indicated after the scoreless first leg he would protect key players ahead of the return match at Stamford Bridge.

Sunday's clash away to leaders Liverpool will have a major bearing on the destiny of the Premier League trophy, but last weekend's home defeat by Sunderland means Chelsea are now ranked third favourites behind the Reds and Manchester City in the title race.

Chelsea currently lie second, five points behind Liverpool with three games to play, but a victory at Anfield will see third-placed City installed as favourites to win the league because they have a game in hand.

Mourinho refused to expand on his plans for the Liverpool match while speaking to reporters at Chelsea's Cobham training ground, south of London, on Friday after being charged by the Football Association for comments he made about the performance of referee Mike Dean following the loss to Sunderland.

But the Chelsea manager said: "The most important thing for me is my club, and the supporters of my club.

"They're the most important thing for me. My club and Chelsea supporters. I have to defend my club, and I have to defend Chelsea supporters.

"And, if we are not helped to try to follow our dreams and our objectives, one more reason for us to close (ranks), to try and think about us and only about us."

The Portuguese boss added: "I think Chelsea fans want Chelsea FC to be respected and to get the respect Chelsea FC deserves.

"They know what Chelsea have done for the club and for English football for the last 10 years.

"They've been the most important club to defend this country in European competitions: they won the Champions League, they won the Europa League, they think Chelsea deserve more respect that they are getting.

"They want Chelsea to go to Liverpool and play, as always, at the maximum giving everything they have. Which players? That's our decision, not your decision.

"I cannot say a lot. I do not feel free to say more than this."

Cech is out for the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder, while Terry and Eden Hazard will miss the trip to Liverpool and have only a slim chance of making the return with Atletico.

"John Terry doesn't make this weekend, and I don't think he can make next week. But let's wait," said Mourinho.

"Eden Hazard is out for Sunday, and I don't think for Wednesday. But let's wait," the Portuguese boss added.

Mourinho has been mentioned as a candidate to take over at Manchester United following the dismissal of David Moyes this week but he insisted he would not leave Chelsea.

The manager, who spoke to Moyes privately this week, said: "Of course not. I don't know how someone could think about it.

"I left Real Madrid specifically to come to Chelsea. I signed a four-year contract. I told Chelsea they never have to worry about me because I don't want to leave, so I stay here until the club wants me to leave, so any (other) job would move me from Chelsea."

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