Mourinho: Putting Chelsea first
news Fri 3 Jan 2014
Jose Mourinho, having studied Leicester City’s opening weekend game, says the match confirmed all he anticipates from tomorrow’s meeting at the Bridge and from the season in general.
The Foxes, freshly promoted having finished top of the Championship last season, hosted Everton in their opener and twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with their second goal scored on 86 minutes.
Mourinho has yet to take on a Leicester side. Our opponents are making their return to the top flight after a 10-year absence, but he has plenty of experience against promoted clubs.
‘The game is difficult,’ said Mourinho at his pre-match media conference which was held at Stamford Bridge rather than Cobham, due to the final training session taking place on the turf that will host the match.
‘Leicester are champions and they come with this winning mentality from the previous season, and they come with high expectations and motivations to play in the Premier League. They know that every point is important in this league, especially for the teams that fight to keep in the division.
‘They had a difficult start, playing Everton is not easy, and they managed to come from behind to equalise and deliver a good game to Everton. Now they come to us and I don’t think it will be different. They are coming to try to get points.
‘This is the sixth Premier League season I start,’ he added.
‘I don’t think I have a lot to learn from the fact that every match is difficult and every opponent is difficult.
‘The results in the first weekend of matches were draws, 1-0 wins, 2-1 wins with just ours and the Man City match with a two-goal difference in the result.
‘Everything was very tight, everything was very difficult for everyone and if we play at the top of our game like we did at Burnley, not for 90 minutes but we did for some good periods of the game, we have a chance to win. If you don’t, you are in trouble.’
There is a clean bill of health going into this weekend’s game, with not a single injury concern in the squad.
There was plenty of interest in the choice of goalkeeper both before and after the Burnley win and Mourinho was asked at today’s conference how Petr Cech has been since Thibaut Courtois was selected between the posts.
‘Petr is a top professional. He is working as always, behaving as always, being a group man as always, being a Chelsea person as always,’ he replied.
‘Is he totally happy? I don’t believe he is but it is not only him, it is everyone who didn’t start the game.
‘This period is hard for them and for me because there is only one match per week so the first three matches they clearly feel that some are playing more and some don’t, but in September with the Capital One Cup, Champions League and Premier League, with three matches a week, everyone playing, rotating, resting - it is an easy period for them and it is an easy period for me as everyone feels much better.
‘Now, in these first three matches with one match per week some are not playing and they feel it more, but Petr Cech’s behaviour is fantastic and that is important.’
What will aid Mourinho in managing his squad in these early days of the season is keeping the winning run going.
‘Victories bring happiness to everyone, not just to the ones on the pitch,’ he explained.
‘We have to think about the players and they deserve respect but football is about the club first, after that comes the team, after that the players and after that the managers. I am the last one.
‘We cannot put the players in front of the team and in front of the club, it must always be the other way and so with every decision, the first thing we think is about the club and the team, but if we can make it good for club and team and players, it is the perfect situation.’
- Chelsea TV's video of the conference can viewed above subject to registration.