Chelsea latest: Mou refuses Hazard's apology, Clarke returns & more

All the latest news and views from Stamford Bridge.

The Eden Hazard story has been dominant all week. From the revelation that he would be dropped for the midweek game against Schalke 04, to finally the reason why… now, the Chelsea attacker has issued an apology but, while acknowledging the player's remorse, Jose Mourinho refuses to accept it.

'He reacted well,' Mourinho told the press. 'He apologised to me and he apologised to the club. Of course the apology was not accepted but it's over and it's something that doesn't exist anymore. "He is selected, he is ready [and] has an appetite to play.'

Following the defeat to Newcastle United last weekend, members of the Chelsea dressing room spoke of Mourinho's anger and scariness, however, the boss himself hopes to distance himself from those terms as he, instead, believes it's been misinterpreted: 'I don’t want to be scary I just want to influence their mentality, make them stronger and more professional,' he said at a media conference.

'So my objective is not to scare, it’s to make them strong.'

One person who won't be scared of Mourinho is his former colleage Steve Clarke, who returns to Stamford Bridge in order to test his mental mettle against The Special One.

Clarke was fundamental to Mourinho's early success. While Jose was new to the Premier League, to England, to the culture at Chelsea, Clarke embodied them all. Together, they perfected the good-cop/bad-cop roles as, after a disciplining from the manager, Clarke would come over with a shoulder to gee the player in question back up.

At Chelsea, Clarke was always held in the highest of esteem in the football industry, credited as the best number two in the business, which was fortified after he joined West Ham United… a team who were in a disastrous position, yet his arrival signified a sudden shift in greater defensive ability.

On the reunion, Mourinho said:'I am very happy to meet Steve Clarke again. He’s a special guy in my career. It’s very difficult to play against his teams because they defend very well. This season they stopped Arsenal winning and won at Old Trafford. We stay in touch but not speaking about our jobs directly.'

The weekend game will be Mourinho's 100th at Stamford Bridge.

In 99 home matches there, Mourinho has a ridiculously good 75.8% win record which makes up 75 wins, 22 draws and a brace of defeats (to Barcelona in 2005 and Basel in 2013).

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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