Mourinho: Two big months

Jose Mourinho has been speaking about using ‘confrontational leadership’ to get the best out of players, although he acknowledges the tactic hasn’t been used on his current squad this season due to the positive nature of results and performances.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game at Hull City, where the Blues will be looking to maintain our six-point advantage at the top of the Barclays Premier League table, the Portuguese explained why his role has been relatively simple over the course of the current campaign.

‘Confrontational leadership is when you are ready to provoke your players, create some conflict with the intention to bring the best out of them,’ said the Blues boss. ‘At this moment I don’t need that with this group because things are going in the direction I want. I’m happy with everything.

‘You can say we lost in the Champions League and we lost against Bradford, okay, but generally the way they work, the way they behave, their motivations, responsibilities, frustrations, the way they react to positive and negative moments, the absence of complacency, all of that is going well. I just need to be present, I don’t need to be a big leader or try to find different strategies.’

Mourinho said there have been occasions in the past when he has been critical of a particular player in order to provoke a positive reaction, but insisted the evolution of Eden Hazard had nothing to do with his comments about the Belgian in the wake of our Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid last season.

‘Maybe it was just his maturity and level of ambition arriving,’ said the Chelsea manager. ‘I don’t think it was me with that episode. For example, when he was named Young Player of the Year it was no big thing for him, he wasn’t particularly emotional because he doesn’t want to be the best young player, he wants to be the best player.

‘It was a natural evolution on his part, he wants to win titles, be the best, improve his game and score more goals. It was an accumulation of experiences and feelings. I still call him a kid but he’s a man, a main player. He can get better but he’s reached a fantastic level and a high level of stability.’

The Blues have drawn four of our last six matches in all competitions, having taken the lead on each occasion, but Mourinho has no added concerns about his side not killing matches off in recent weeks.

‘When you start well and score before the opponent it means the gameplan, team selection, tactics and attitude of the players was correct, so it’s better to start a game by scoring than not,’ explained the Blues boss.

‘Against Tottenham and West Ham we won the game, in other matches the opponent has equalised. At West Ham we tried everything to score more goals; [Aaron] Cresswell saved on the line, there was a fantastic save from a Ramires header, Eden and Ramires both had shots. Against Southampton we had a fantastic second half and could have scored more goals but we didn’t. It’s difficult, that’s football.’

He also acknowledged that while he would, of course, rather still be involved in the Champions League, the lack of midweek fixtures could prove pivotal as we chase the title.

‘Now we can work in a way we couldn’t when we were in all of the cups, with good training sessions, good exercises, preparing the team specifically for a certain game and analysing opponents with more time,’ said Mourinho.

‘I want to focus on that, there are two months to go and in two months we can be champions.’