Jose Mourinho launched his new reign at Chelsea with a sensational bid for Manchester United star Wayne Rooney and a friendly victory in Bangkok on Wednesday.
The charismatic Portuguese, in his first game back after six seasons away, led a side brimming with new faces to a 1-0 “training session” win over Singha All-Star XI.
But the game, in front of tens of thousands of blue-shirted Thai fans, was completely overshadowed by news that Chelsea had tabled an undisclosed bid for the unsettled England striker.
Mourinho said the bid, for a reported 10 million pounds (11.5 million euros, $15.1 million) was “clean” and “ethical”, and he contradicted reports that Juan Mata or David Luiz had been offered as make-weights.
“End of story — we made a bid and now it’s up to Man United and it’s up to the player,” he said, adding that Chelsea were not targeting any other players.
“We love the player, we are interested in the player, we made the bid. We have nothing more to say and nothing more to do. And now we have to respect and be ethical in this process,” Mourinho said.
“The official bid is just about a certain amount of money, it doesn’t involve players and it doesn’t involve players in the possibility of the negotiations to continue,” he added, raising the prospect of another offer.
Rooney is said to have asked for a transfer in May and he lasted just a few hours of United’s pre-season tour before departing with a minor hamstring injury.
This week, reports said he was “angry and confused” at comments from new boss David Moyes which suggested he would play second fiddle to Robin van Persie this season.
Mourinho’s Chelsea are rated as the biggest threat to Manchester United’s title defence as Moyes attempts to follow Alex Ferguson’s 27-year, 38-trophy reign.
And Chelsea got off to a positive start under Mourinho by beating the All Stars — who shocked United in Bangkok last week — 1-0 courtesy of a Romelu Lukaku first-half penalty.
Kevin De Bruyne was a chief threat on his debut, after returning from a loan spell at Werder Bremen, and he whistled a thunderous shot past the uprights on 23 minutes.
Lukaku was also posing problems early on and he forced a sharp save from the goalkeeper after galloping through one-on-one on the half-hour.
But the first goal of Mourinho’s new era came from the spot after Brazilian right-back Wallace, Chelsea’s new signing from Fluminense, went down under a challenge in the box.
And Lukaku made no mistake with his left foot as he drove the penalty low and to the ‘keeper’s right for his first goal in a Chelsea shirt, with 35 minutes gone.
The six foot four (1.93 metre) Belgian might have had another but his first-time shot in the box was again parried away.
Both teams switched nearly their entire teams at half-time and it was a disjointed second period from the Blues.
“It was a good experience for us, because they were very well organised tactically, they were very compact… I think my team were always in control,” Mourinho said.
“It was a good training session,” he added.
Mourinho said veteran midfielder Frank Lampard had been left out as a precaution after taking a knock to the kidneys.
Chelsea now head to Kuala Lumpur and then Jakarta as they continue their build-up to the new season.