Bryan Robson has warned Chelsea that they are in danger of becoming the most hated club in England if Jose Mourinho continues to ruffle feathers.
Robson, the West Bromwich Albion manager, is agitated at comments by his Chelsea counterpart before tonight?s Premiership match between the teams at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho stated that Chelsea do not merely want to defeat opponents, they want to ?annihilate? them.
Robson stopped short of calling Mourinho arrogant but the Albion manager suggested that Chelsea were losing sympathy throughout the game. Ars>ne Wenger, the Arsenal manager, is stunned by how ? arrogant? and ?na?ve? Chelsea were to set up an alleged meeting with Ashley Cole in a London hotel. It has been claimed that Chelsea tried to illegally approach Cole with a view to taking the player from Arsenal to Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho has been called ?the enemy of football? for his alleged role in the retirement of Anders Frisk, the Swedish official who refereed Chelsea?s match against Barcelona in London three weeks ago.
Frisk, who was accused by Mourinho of talking to Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard at half time during Chelsea?s Champions? League last-16 first leg, decided to quit after receiving threats.
A leading official of Uefa, the European game?s governing body, criticised Mourinho and other coaches for creating tension between fans and match officials. Roth said: ?It is the coaches who whip up the masses and actually make them threaten people with death.?
Robson believes that Mourinho?s behaviour would be more acceptable if Chelsea, without a league title since 1955, had matched the achievements of Manchester United and Arsenal during the past decade.
It is likely that Chelsea?s insolence will form part of Robson?s team talk before Albion?s match tonight.
He said: ?I just hope our players have looked at the reports over the weekend where Mourinho and Terry say they are not content at just beating teams but want to annihilate them. That is an insult.
?For me, as a professional, that winds me up ? and hopefully that winds my players up. I am sure that there are other players in other teams who look at those sort of comments and will think the same.
?People play these mind games and sometimes they come out with stuff which is good but sometimes it can be detrimental. I have never met him so I do not know the man.
?But the way they are winding people up a lot, then maybe they will become a club where people dislike them if these comments keep coming out. They will be the first ones to fall flat on their face if they do not get the results.
?If you keep winding people up from all different walks of life in football ? referees, officials, fans, players, reporters, etc ? they will start disliking you, and the tag will stick.
?I do not think it has been a calculated thing by Mourinho. I do not think you can be as clever as that. I think it is his natural character where he comes out with things which he probably thinks helps his players.
?I think there are certain things you keep in the dressing-room. I have played in great teams where people do not come out with things which undermine other teams and I think what was said at the weekend does undermine other teams in the Premiership.
?People disliked Manchester United because of the charisma that surrounds the club and they were successful year in and year out and, after a while, people got fed up with that.
?Arsenal got that a little bit as well when they won the double and then kept on winning trophies and people were saying: ?I?d sooner someone else win it?.
"Chelsea are getting a bit of a tag like that but they haven?t won anything for quite a few years. It is a bit of a different tag to what United and Arsenal had. For me, if Chelsea win doubles, trebles, year in and year out, then you can maybe talk about yourselves a bit more.?
Albion, who have no new injury problems, drew 1-1 away to Arsenal in November, a result that will give Robson hope for what is seen in some quarters as an impossible task.
Chelsea are eight points clear at the top of the Premiership and Albion, who have not won away this season, are one off the bottom.
Robson said: ?It does not matter who you are playing but if you are disciplined and work really hard for each other and get a few breaks, you can get a result. If Chelsea are off-colour, then we can beat them. Hopefully they will under-estimate us.
* West Bromwich Albion Reserves drew 2-2 with Nottingham Forest in the Premiership reserve League North last night.
Young striker Rob Elvins struck twice, living up to his promise. He put the Baggies in front after only five minutes with a close range shot from a cross by Lee Marshall and was on the mark again after 28 minutes, after a fine run and cross by Lloyd Dyer.
Spencer Weir-Daley and Michael Vickers, his replacement earned Forest a share of the spoils.