Jose Mourinho has issued a withering response to Ruud Gullit's suggestion that Juan Mata's Chelsea exile is the result of a personal feud.
Speaking on Sky Sports, former Blues boss Gullit criticized the style of Mourinho's team so far this season and blasted the manager's refusal to even include Mata in his squad to face Fulham, saying: "He was one of the best players last year, therefore it's something personal."
In Mata's absence, goals from Oscar and Jon Obi Mikel wrapped up a routine win that takes the Blues back to the top of the Premier League and ends a run of three consecutive defeats. When Gullit's theory was presented to Mourinho after the match, the Special One responded tersely.
"Gullit is a different type of pundit, because he is also a manager, and he shouldn't be a very proud manager for what he did in the past years," Mourinho said. "So I don't want to comment."
Mourinho also confirmed that Mata will play against Swindon in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, along with several other players who did not feature against Fulham.
"Tuesday he will play from the beginning against Swindon, and the people who were not playing [against Fulham] are going to play — Juan, David [Luiz], Michael Essien, [Ryan] Bertrand, [Cesar] Azpilicueta," Mourinho said. "And I hope he tells me on the pitch, 'You are wrong, I'm the best and I have to play every game'. I would love that. This is to be professional, and he's a top kid and a very good professional, so I'm waiting for a professional reaction."
Martin Jol, meanwhile, lamented his team's inability to trouble Chelsea more often during a first half in which it effectively stifled the Blues' attacking intentions.
"In the first 15 minutes they were very worried," he insisted. "They couldn't find any space, and couldn't find a solution, and that is the moment you have to punish them. In the second half we tried to do the same, but they stepped up a gear. They were more aggressive than us, and that showed in the first goal."