London: Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been told that if he wants Stamford Bridge to feel less like an "empty stadium" then the Premier League leaders must reduce their ticket prices.
Mourinho was unhappy with the atmosphere generated during the early stages of Chelsea`s 2-1 win at home to west London rivals Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, saying it felt like an "empty stadium".
However, Chelsea Supporters` Trust chairman Tim Rolls said Sunday that many younger fans were being priced out of the game and that this was the root cause of Mourinho`s complaint, with cutting the cost of watching the Blues the best way of generating more vocal backing.
"We`ve got a situation at Chelsea and at other grounds where the atmosphere probably isn`t as good as it used to be," Rolls said.
"But there are clear reasons for that around the age of the supporter base. It`s £50-plus ($80, 64 euros) to go, and young people -- who are the most likely to sing and make noise -- have been priced out of the game.
"Until the clubs recognise that and do something about affordable pricing for young people and creating sections of the ground where they can sing and make some noise then the situation is unlikely to improve."
Rolls added: "It`s unrealistic to expect 18, 19-year-old kids on the minimum wage to come to Stamford Bridge or any other Premier League ground -- this isn`t just an issue at Chelsea, it`s an issue across the board."
In response to Rolls`s comments, a Chelsea spokesman said: "We work hard within the constraints of the current stadium to keep ticket prices down, and have frozen those prices in seven of the last nine seasons.
"The club`s ticketing policy is due to be discussed with supporters at an upcoming forum later this month."
After Saturday`s match, Mourinho told talkSPORT radio: "At this moment it`s difficult for us to play at home because playing here is like playing in an empty stadium.
"The team then starts playing like it`s a quiet, soft game at home," explained the Portuguese manager, now in his second spell at Stamford Bridge.
"It`s difficult to get that strong start where the players, team and fans at Stamford Bridge (are all together).
"I was today (Saturday) looking around and it was empty, but not in terms of people because it was obviously full. That`s what is frustrating."