Under-pressure Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes he is still the man to lead the club out of a difficult period, as his team prepare to face former club Porto in a crucial Champions League group game.
COBHAM, NEAR LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (DECEMBER 8, 2015) (REUTERS) – Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho repeatedly insisted he was the right man to lead the club on Tuesday (December 8) ahead of the Blues’ Champions League clash against Porto.
Under fire Mourinho said he retained the backing of manager Roman Abramovich despite speculation he might be fired should they lose to his former club, a result that would almost certainly see Chelsea knocked out of Europe’s elite competition.
And he welcomed the backing of his friend and former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson, who said on Monday (December 7) that Chelsea’s hierarchy should retain faith in Mourinho.
“It is the difference between friends and fake friends,” said Mourinho at a news conference on Tuesday.
“And the ones who are not even fake friends are honest and show immediately their feelings towards you. Sir Alex is my friend and obviously the words are very nice words. I believe he is not the kind of person who says it because he likes somebody, I think during all his career he is always honest in his analysis and I thank him.”
Not only will Mourinho face a former side in Porto, but his struggling strikers will come up against a familiar foe in the shape of Iker Casillas.
The Spanish goalkeeper was reported to have fallen out with Mourinho when the two were at Real Madrid, but Chelsea’s manager denied Wednesday’s (December 9) match would be a case of Mourinho v Casillas as its is being billed in the Spanish media.
“For me it is a match,” said Mourinho. “One more. One more in the Champions League. I think Casillas has the record of the matches in the Champions League as a player. I think I am behind Sir Alex Ferguson and may be a couple of more but I am almost there. So it is one more match for me. With a little difference, which is the fact I play against a team from my country, a team where I worked for a few years. And with the difference that this is a group phase but because of the results was transformed in a knockout phase.”
The state of the group means that a win will see Chelsea go through as the top side, a draw would leave them second, but a loss, combined with a win for Dynamo Kiev against Israeli minnows Maccabi Tel Aviv would see them drop into the Europa League.
Some have suggested winning Europe’s second tier competition might be Chelsea’s best hope of getting into next year’s Champions League given the dire state of their league form.
Chelsea lost 1-0 in the Premier League at home to promoted side Bournemouth at the weekend, while Crystal Palace, Southampton and Liverpool have also tasted victory in west London this season as Chelsea have slumped to 15th in the league.
“I know what you mean,” said Mourinho when asked if he would prefer to finish third in the group.
“At this moment it looks to win the Europa League an easier way to be in the Champions League next season than to finish in the top four. But there is another possibility which is to win the Champions League.”
He added that he expected to keep his job despite his side’s wretched form.
“I think I did lots of good things in this club for the owner to know the quality I have. And if the owner shows me that belief twice – one when he brought me back to the club, the second time when he gave me a new contract for four years. I don’t think the owner is a person to change with the wind. I know the results are an important wind. I know this wind is really strong the results in the Premier League are really bad. But I think the owner knows who I am, the owner knows what I give to the club and the owner believes I am the right person to do the job,” he stressed.
Although a number of key players from front to back have had a season so far to forget, Mourinho said the lack of goals was really hurting Chelsea.
Mourinho has demoted Diego Costa to the bench, while Falcao has been injured and Eden Hazard is on a long run in club soccer without a goal.
“I think it is clear we create so many chances and don’t score goals,” said Mourinho.
“It is obvious it is not a question of developing the game, going through the phases of building up and arrive to the last moment which is to put the ball in the net. We are having so many situations where we just need a tap in, where we just need one touch in the face of the goal and we are not having that. That’s for sure.”
Meanwhile Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, another who has been sidelined through injury until recently, backed Mourinho to be the man to turn the crisis around.
“I don’t think results show that we are not committed to the manager,” he said. “I think that results sometimes were better than other teams it doesn’t have to say anything about our commitment. I think we still have our commitment but just results are not there we still are confident in the manager and we are one team and we are trying to get out of it with him.”