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Mourinho: Ready and adaptable

Jose Mourinho reports his squad are ready for the challenges that await them over the Christmas and new year period.

The Blues have four Barclays Premier League games in just 11 days, starting with the trip to Stoke on Monday, and speaking at his customary Friday pre-match press conference ahead of that match the manager assessed the forthcoming run of fixtures.

‘Everybody has to play these four matches in this short space of time so everybody is in the same circumstances,’ he said. ‘Obviously some are lucky to have easier fixtures in this period but that’s a draw and you can’t do anything about that. For us it’s difficult: three matches away and only one at home.

‘Even the one we have at home will be a London derby against one of the best teams in the competition and the three matches away are Tottenham, Southampton and Stoke so it’s difficult for us but we are ready.’

For the trip to Staffordshire on Monday Jose Mourinho thinks Thibaut Courtois will be available for selection again having missed the past couple of games with a minor muscle injury, though the manager couldn’t say so with 100 per cent certainty.  

He also reported Kurt Zouma is fine and can play, while he expects Didier Drogba, another player who went off injured at Derby in midweek, to be available as well.

During the conference the manager was also asked for his reaction to Wednesday’s night Capital One Cup draw, which paired us with Liverpool, and he responded by saying it’s normal to play a semi-final against one of the best teams in the competition.

As always Mourinho stressed the importance of just focusing on the next match, though, and for now that means an away game at Stoke City.

‘They are a good and difficult side,' he assessed. 'They have that important base that Tony Pulis gave them: physicality, set-pieces, aggressive, direct. This was the base of their success since they came to the Premier League.

'In the last couple of years with Mark Hughes, without losing that identity, he has brought some of his own ideas, some players that can have more than that physicality.

'We have to go there and play our game but we know well their qualities as a team and their qualities individually and we have also to adapt to it. If you know you’re going to play against Peter Crouch, if you know you’re going to play against the kind of defenders they have and you don’t adapt to that you are in trouble. We can adapt to that because we have qualities that allow us to adapt.’

Mourinho’s men will be going for, as he put, a ‘quadruple’ on Monday – that is, winning four consecutive matches. He said if we are to have a chance of winning different competitions this season we must ‘do a few quadruples’.

One man who will be trying to deny us victory at the Britannia is the Spanish forward Bojan, somebody Mourinho is familiar with, as he recalled.

‘Bojan is the only player that almost killed me with a heart attack because in the last minute of Barcelona against Inter in the semi-final of the Champions League (in 2010) he scored an amazing goal – offside! I looked to the other side and to the linesman – offside!

‘Apart from that he is a very dangerous player who is adapting well to the Premier League, which is never easy for a striker.’

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