Jose Mourinho says he feels “ashamed” by the racist actions of a group of Chelsea fans in Paris, but has sought to distance the club from the incident.
Chelsea’s battling performance in the 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night was overshadowed after a shocking video emerged of a section of supporters chanting “We’re racist and that’s the way we like it”, while preventing a black passenger from boarding a Metro train in the French capital ahead of the game.
“We feel ashamed but maybe we shouldn’t because I refuse to be connected with these people,” Mourinho said, ahead of the clash with Burnley this weekend.
“I’m connected with Chelsea and the many good things this club defends. I left Chelsea in 2007 and I couldn’t wait to be back.
“I felt ashamed when I knew what happened, but I repeat I’m a proud Chelsea manager because I know what this club is.”
“I feel ashamed to have been connected with this sad episode that happened and I have no more words.”
Mourinho confirmed that his views are shared in Chelsea’s dressing room.
“The reaction of the players is the same reaction that we all have,” he added.
“I have a squad at Chelsea where 12 or 14 players have African nationality or an African connection.
“Our dressing room has always had big principles of equality over everything – race, religion, everything.
“So the dressing room reacted in the same way I did, with disappointment and obviously condemning the situation and supporting the gentleman involved.
“But there is also the feeling that while we feel ashamed, maybe we shouldn’t because we are not this and these people don’t belong to us.
“Since minute one we have done absolutely everything because we have zero tolerance to this. We have to keep feeling our club is a great club and has no space for people like this.”
Chelsea have suspended three people from Stamford Bridge following the incident, and issued an apology to the victim ahead of Mourinho’s press conference.
“I’d like to make clear, on behalf of everyone at the club, our disgust at the incident. We were appalled by what we saw,” a club spokesman said.
“The club would also like to apologise unreservedly to Souleymane for the behaviour of a small number of individuals and their unforgivable action towards him.
“We’re writing to him to apologise and to invite him to come to a game as our guest.”
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