THE GUARDIAN UK: José Mourinho has revealed Chelsea’s players will not receive a team bonus if they progress beyond Paris Saint-Germain into the quarter-finals of the Champions League and will be rewarded only if they lift the trophy in Berlin in June.
The Premier League leaders play PSG at Stamford Bridge with the knockout tie poised at 1-1 and the visitors on €250,000 (£180,000) per man if they progress into the last eight. PSG’s Qatari owners have implemented a sliding scale of bonuses that would lead each of their players to be paid €1m (£740,000) should they lift their first European Cup.
Chelsea, who offer their players considerable basic salaries, restructured their bonus policy before Mourinho’s return in 2013 but the manager questioned whether elite professionals are motivated by financial incentives for individual matches.
“You know, for a long time, I don’t have bonuses,” he said. “I just have bonuses to win competitions. So I forgot that feeling. The last time was at Porto. Win bonuses for matches or win bonuses to get through some rounds … I never had a bonus [like that] again and I don’t think we should. The club pay us a very good salary to do our job the best we can.
“If we take the club into quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals but we don’t win the competition, we are doing a very good job for the club financially but I don’t think we should get extra money if we don’t win the last prize. Every player at the high level has enough money in salaries and I think everyone plays to win.”
Asked if players should receive bonuses for progressing through the knockout stages, he said: “No. If somebody puts on the table €250,000 to win a certain match it’s nice but I think professionalism goes beyond that. Don’t take this the wrong way but, for me, what’s more important is the happiness and pride of success, more than the money.
“Football is about our passion for the game, the happiness and the pride of victories. They have no price.”
While Arsenal and Manchester City face uphill struggles to overturn deficits from home defeats against Monaco and Barcelona respectively, Chelsea remain better placed to carry English hopes into the last eight. Premier League sides used to prosper at this stage, contributing half of the quarter-finalists in 2008 and 2009, but have struggled in recent seasons.
In the last three campaigns, England has had only three teams – Chelsea in 2012 and 2014, and Manchester United last year – in the last eight.“We have a big job to do,” Mourinho said. “To imagine English football, the best league in the world, without one single team in the Champions League quarter-finals is hard. But even if that happens we would still have the best league in the world. These are different competitions.
“Look at Bayern Munich, who can play almost a second team [in the Bundesliga] without any kind of pressure. Even PSG … I saw their game on Saturday [won 4-1 against Lens] and our training session that day was harder than their match. My players on Sunday, they were resting from the hard training session on the Saturday. I think on Sunday PSG’s players were not resting from their game against Lens. So it’s more difficult for English clubs. I am not here to protect anybody but do you think it’s normal where Everton is in the Premier League? It’s not normal. This League is very difficult and the Champions League is a completely different situation.”
The Chelsea manager will select from a fully fit squad – Mikel John Obi aside – and will hope Eden Hazard is offered more protection by the Dutch official Bjorn Kuipers than he was at Parc des Princes.
“I was surprised because a team with fantastic players was the team with a record number of fouls, was the team making foul after foul, was the team which stopped Hazard with fouls all the time, was the team attacking the man in possession with two or three players with some very aggressive actions,” Mourinho said.
“This season we’ve played against sides from the Championship in the cups, against teams from League One and Shrewsbury from League Two, but the most aggressive team was PSG.
“For me, that was a real surprise. With players of such quality, I was expecting more football and less aggression.”