By Dan Levene
Jose Mourinho says the profile of supporter Chelsea attract to Stamford Bridge has resulted in a lukewarm atmosphere for Blues' home games.
The Chelsea manager believes that while fans following the club are able to rise to the occasion and back the team when needed, as in the final minutes against West Brom on Saturday, the Blues' home support is generally tepid.
“This is Stamford Bridge's nature,” said Mourinho.
“We know that our fans are in love with the club, more than in any other club or the same, but it is a different profile.
“We know Stamford Bridge is not a very hot atmosphere, not a very strong atmosphere normally, and we accept that.
“But in the last part of the game, when they felt the players were up to have a go and a fight, they were very much behind the team and they support the team.”
Mourinho's words echo what former Blues manager Andre Villas-Boas recently, who said about the lack of atmosphere from Spurs fans at White Hart Lane – with rising concern across fans of several clubs that increasing ticket prices are leading to the exclusion of those more likely to give vocal support.
They also come at a time when supporters groups at Chelsea have raised the issue of atmosphere at Stamford Bridge, and are trying to work to improve it.
Tim Rolls, of Chelsea Supporters Trust, said he largely agreed with Mourinho's comments.
He said: “We, as a Trust, have had dialogue with the club and atmosphere came up. The atmosphere isn't all it could be and that's been represented to the club by both us and the Fans Forum (on which the Trust is represented).
“There are a number of contributory factors: the lack of young people, who are more inclined to sing; the lack of standing in the ground; and the cost of getting a ticket are all part of it.
“We need to get more people in to Stamford Bridge who want to sing. And, from my point of view, that means more younger people.”
A Chelsea spokesman said the issue of Stamford Bridge atmosphere was something that had been raised several times at the Fans Forum, and was due to be on the agenda for the next meeting on December 1.