The first match of our European training camp pitted us against a side whose league campaign is already underway, something Jose Mourinho considers ideal as our pre-season preparations continue.
WAC RZ Pellets played their first competitive match of the 2014/15 season this weekend, and as our boss explained after the 1-1 draw against top-flight Austrian opposition, more time for his side spent on the pitch in match action proved invaluable.
‘It was perfect because we reached the objectives we had for this game,’ said Mourinho. ‘They [WAC] gave us exactly the kind of match we needed.
‘We are training between games but we need to train against other teams too. They are in better condition than us and their intensity, their style of play – very fast – was good for us.’
Fewer substitutions were made than in our two recent friendlies on home soil, though again all the younger members of the squad were given playing time, including 17-year-old Jeremie Boga, who netted the Chelsea equaliser six minutes from time.
‘For the senior players it was hard because in this moment they don’t have conditions to play at this level,’ assessed the manager. ‘And for the kids it was a fantastic experience, not just to play for Chelsea, but also to compete.
‘They are all doing well. Sometimes we see them and we don’t realise their age, but Boga, Izzy Brown are 17, Dom Solanke is 16. We brought what we consider is the top talent at this club here, it doesn’t matter what their age is. They are kids so for them it is a fantastic experience.’
Mourinho reported that five of the six players that began training on Monday and didn’t feature tonight – including new signings Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa – will play 45 minutes of Sunday’s game with Olympia Ljubljana. Filipe Luis got game time tonight because he had already trained for 15 days this pre-season with his former club Atletico Madrid.
The match with WAC also included the satisfying aspect of seeing Petr Cech back in a Chelsea shirt for the first time since he dislocated his shoulder in April. The Czech keeper was kept busy throughout and Mourinho delivered a positive verdict afterwards. He also discussed the impending arrival of fellow goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who will meet up with the squad next week.
‘To test his shoulder the game gave us situations that we needed. He had difficult situations: for example the cross at the far post where had to stretch his shoulder completely. There was another one when he had to punch and he had contact with his opponent. My opinion is that he has completely recovered.
‘My situation for the season is fantastic,’ continued Mourinho. ‘To have Petr Cech and Courtois is fantastic. I have the best young goalkeeper in the world. I have one of the top three, top five experienced goalkeepers in the world. For me and for Chelsea, the situation is perfect.
‘For the coach, when we don’t have the players we are in trouble. When we have good players in numbers we are happy. We have to make decisions, yes, but we are paid to make decisions.
‘One will play, and Chelsea are in safe hands for because they are both very good players.’