Jose Mourinho addressed the media earlier today ahead of Sunday’s Barclays Premier League game against Southampton, and spoke about the desire and determination of both him and his players to go on and win the club’s first title since 2010.
Speaking in a packed media room at our Cobham training ground, the Portuguese reported there was a meeting in the wake of our midweek Champions League exit at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain, but also said his players were eager to bounce back in what is another important game against Ronald Koeman’s side as we attempt to preserve our five-point lead at the top of the table.
‘I had a meeting with the players, I’m working for the future,’ said Mourinho. ‘Lots of people were speaking, we were discussing and it was very interactive, it was good but I’m not going into details.
‘We are out of the Champions League, we played eight matches, we lost none but we weren’t good enough and didn’t get the result we needed to reach the quarter-finals.
‘With the new criteria next season, if we want to be head of the group (top seed) we need to be champions, because only the champions are head of group next season, it has no relation to the coefficient, we cannot be protected by the 16 points we made for England during this campaign.
‘That’s our focus, we have 11 matches to play, we want to be champions to win the Premier League but also to be back in the Champions League in a position where we can be top seed.’
Mourinho acknowledged in the aftermath of Wednesday’s game the display hadn’t been good enough, but his faith in the side remains as strong as ever, particularly given the way in which they’ve performed for the majority of the season.
‘We want to win against Southampton, we have 11 matches to play, we have an advantage of five points and a game in hand. We cannot promise that we will win every game, we cannot even promise we will win the Premier League, but we are optimists.
‘The reality is that since 1 January we’ve only lost against Bradford. We’ve lost two matches in the league all season. In the Champions League maybe it’s a unique case to be out without one single defeat.
‘I like my players and I trust them when we win or lose. I support my players and I am with them. All we can do now for ourselves and our club is win the Premier League. It’s only one competition for us now. Our situation is good, everyone would love to be in our position.’
Defensively we have been solid for much of the campaign, but the Blues boss believes there is always room for improvement in certain areas.
‘In the last four games we had two clean sheets and conceded three goals,’ he explained. ‘The three goals we conceded were headers from corners – one against Burnley and two against Paris Saint-Germain - we know that and obviously we will work on it.’
Mourinho also had words about two TV pundits and ex-players who cristicised Chelsea behaviour midweek.
‘The world is a bit strange, maybe because of diet and maybe because of the quality of the products we are eating. I think memories are getting shorter because when Jamie Carragher and Graeme Souness, they are talking about this, it is because they are having problems for sure.
‘Jamie stopped playing a couple of years ago and in two years he forgot everything he did on the pitch, and Mr Souness also forgot but he has stopped playing for quite a long time. He also forgets that a couple of years after he left Benfica I coached Benfica and I know a lot about him.
‘The difference between me and Souness is he was a top player and I wasn’t. As a manager I am up there and Souness is not. I was not a frustrated man when I was not a top player but he is clearly a frustrated man.
‘But he was a fantastic player, I loved to see him play football.’
There was positive news regarding the availability of players ahead of Sunday’s match, and Mourinho is completely confident his team can strengthen their grip at the top of the table with a positive result.
‘We have zero injuries, everybody wants to play,’ said the manager.
‘They will cope with the pressure of playing against Southampton. We have had key games since the start of the season. It’s more difficult to start the season on the same points as everybody than to play now with an advantage. We started the season with the same amount of points as Man City, now we have five more. We started the season on the same number of points as Arsenal, now we have nine more, so it’s easier.’