The final day of our pre-season tour in North America is a chance for Jose Mourinho to reflect on the past two weeks and also look forward to tonight’s game against Barcelona.
The manager and his squad fly back to London in the very early hours of Wednesday morning local time, but not before another step forward in our pre-season preparations is taken when we face the Spanish and European champions at the FedEx Field in Washington DC.
‘It’s the best training session we could have,’ Mourinho tells the official Chelsea website. ’The game against Paris was a very good one; against Barcelona it can be an even better one.
‘I’m not worried with tactical aspects, and I’m not worried with the result. I’m just worried about the possibility to play at a higher intensity and prepare ourselves for the Premier League.
‘I need to give players minutes. I need to give players different experiences, playing with each other and also playing in different positions. It’s just about preparation. Obviously nobody likes to lose even in training but if we wanted to win we would choose opponents where we could win easily.
‘This time, because we have a short pre-season and not a long time to be ready for the Premier League, we decided to play proper opponents and have proper training matches to raise the level.’
With regards to his team selection tonight, and specifically how he will distribute playing time around his squad, Mourinho explains there is one area of the pitch where he has little choice in the matter right now.
‘Defenders I have to give 90 minutes to because at this moment I have only five. Between the five we must have four on the pitch and so for the defenders I have to do it.
‘I prefer the others to play high intensity football and to not reach their fatigue levels, giving everybody a chance to develop their condition.’
Mourinho is speaking at the Montreal hotel where he and his players have spent all but one night since touching down in Canada a fortnight ago. With training on this side of the Atlantic over he has a chance to look back and give an overall analysis of how our stay has gone. His conclusion is an extremely positive one - so long as tonight’s game has no lasting consequences on his players’ fitness.
‘The conditions have been good to train and to rest,’ he begins. ‘The distances of travel have also been very short. We haven’t spent a lot time on buses or at airports or on planes.
‘We have had very good opponents. For the objective of a short pre-season I think everything went very well. If we don’t get any injuries against Barcelona we will have done fantastically, amazingly well by having a pre-season without one single injured player. Let’s hope the game doesn’t give us problems.’
By Rupert Cane
You can watch our game against Barcelona live on Chelsea TV and online (in the UK and Ireland only), with coverage starting at 12.45am on Wednesday 29 July.